Brisbane Writers Festival 2014

One of my favourite annual Brisbane events is the Brisbane Writers Festival. Most of the events are held at the State Library of Queensland in the Cultural Precinct in South Brisbane (across the river from the CBD). In 2014, the festival runs from Wednesday 3rd to Sunday 7th September.

It’s more than just a festival about books, authors and writing. It’s also about ideas. Attend the Brisbane Writers Festival and you’ll be exposed to so many new ideas, I can guarantee that at some stage your brain will feel bigger.

Because you’re in the Cultural Precinct, there’s also the opportunity to have a look at the Gallery of Modern Art, the Queensland Art Gallery and Queensland Museum and Science Centre.


Many of the sessions are ticketed, but there are plenty of free sessions too. For free events, especially popular authors or topics, make sure you arrive at the venue early.  But don’t worry, it’s all very friendly and well organised. They give out tickets while you’re waiting in line so you know you’ll have a seat. If you miss out, you can dash to another session. Download a PDF of the program, or they have paper copies at the information table.

State Library Queensland

State Library Queensland


If you’re a writer and want to learn a more about your craft, there are masterclasses on topics such as writing for children, self-publishing and how write nail-biting scenes. For new writers there are classes on how to unlock your creativity and the basics of novel writing.


There’s so much to see at the Brisbane Writers Festival that I often find I don’t have time to eat, so my tip is to pack some quick snacks. If you have a few minutes to spare you can buy drinks and food near the outside venues and there is a cafe on the ground level of the State Library. If it’s very busy, the nearby Gallery of Modern Art has two food outlets and the Queensland Art Gallery also has a cafe.

Queensland Art Gallery Cafe

Queensland Art Gallery Cafe


You can’t take large bags into the State Library venues, but there is a cloakroom on the ground floor.  Have a look at the guidelines to see what you can take with you.


For some of the sessions, you might find you’re part of a live-to-air ABC radio show.  Many of these programs can be later downloaded.


If you’re wondering what you might hear at the Brisbane Writers Festival, have a listen to the following podcasts from previous festivals.

  • I was surprised at how funny and charming author Jeff Lindsay was – not at all like I’d imagined the creator of the serial killer Dexter would be (Dexter is the main character in a series of books and a TV show). You can hear Jeff talking with the ABC’s Richard Fidler and Australian writer M J Hyland at the 2009 Brisbane Writers Festival.
  • Crime writer Val McDermid also spoke with Richard Fidler during the 2010 Brisbane Writers Festival.
  • Norman Doidge, author of The Brain That Changes Itself discussed how ‘old dogs CAN learn new tricks’ at the 2010 Brisbane Writers Festival.
  • At the 2013 festival, some of the attendees found out if you really could learn everything you need to know about love from romance books.

If you have any tips for attendees at the Writers Festival, please leave them in the comments section below.

About Dianne McLay

Australian writer, author and photographer. Author of 3 guidebooks: Brisbane's Best Bush, Bay & City Walks -- Best of Brisbane guide book -- Best Village & Coastal Walks of the Sunshine Coast. Photographer for "Building Brisbane's History - the fascinating stories behind the city's most notable buildings and structures" Editor of
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