At the invitation of Asia TOPA, Melbourne Writers Festival has joined forces with Jaipur Literature Festival to today launch JLF Melbourne, a brand new summer festival celebrating the best of South Asian and Australian writing and ideas.


MWF Festival Director Lisa Dempster said JLF Melbourne would transport the magic, colour and excitement of one of the world’s biggest literary celebrations to Fed Square.


“JLF Melbourne will bring ‘the greatest literary show on Earth’ to Australia’s City of Literature for just one weekend,” Ms Dempster said.


“This thrilling pop-up festival will connect the unique identities of South Asia and Australia.  Through talks, performances, music and poetry, JLF Melbourne will explore culture, migration, identity and gender issues, politics, the environment, travel and history.”


Among the international stars unveiled today are eminent transgender rights activist, dancer and actress Laxmi Narayan Tripathi (Red Lipstick: The Men in My Life), Indian politician and award-winning writer Shashi Tharoor (India Shastra: Reflections on the Nation in Our Time), esteemed travel writer and former reporter Mishi Saran (Chasing the Monk’s Shadow: A Journey in the Footsteps of Xuanzang) and Sofia Ashraf, the powerful singer and songwriter behind the viral Kodaikanal Won’t rap video.


An impressive selection of local literary talent will also appear at JLF Melbourne, including journalist and political commentator George Megalogenis, distinguished writer and academic Tony Birch, journalist and screenwriter Benjamin Law and award-winning poet Michelle Cahill.


JLF Melbourne will feature a single ticketed gala evening event, including a smorgasbord of food, drink and not-to-be-missed live performances, surrounded by a weekend of free events.


“Just like its Jaipur namesake, JLF Melbourne will be a fluid event where guests can move freely from session to session and really soak up the atmosphere,” Ms Dempster said.


JLF Melbourne will also see the launch of the City of Literature’s digital storytelling app, a collection of tales narrated by JLF Melbourne guests that will unfold for avid readers as they explore Fed Square.


Ms Dempster said JLF Melbourne was a chance to try something new and different.


“Book your tickets to the gala through the Asia TOPA website and download the storytelling app to discover amazing stories by some of the world’s leading writers at JLF Melbourne,” she said.

“JLF Melbourne is here for one weekend only, so make sure you don’t miss out on this celebration of Indian and Australian literature and culture on 11-12 February 2017.”


JLF Melbourne is held in collaboration with Melbourne Writers Festival, Teamwork Arts, Fed Square and Arts Centre Melbourne as part of Asia TOPA, with Readings as the Festival’s Official Bookseller.


The full program can be found at

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