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Festivals can no longer focus solely on their recurring, physical events. AAP Image/Bella Ann Townes

Crowded house: how to keep festivals relevant in an oversaturated market

Festivals are a vibrant part of Australian culture but, as arts funding dries up, festival organisers will have to get creative if they want to survive. The recurring, physical event isn't enough.
According to Masha Gessen, Vladimir Putin only thinks six weeks ahead.

Why we underestimate Putin, according to Masha Gessen

Judith Armstrong spoke with Gessen when she was in Melbourne as a guest of the Melbourne Writers’ Festival last week. You can listen to the extended interview here. In her biography of Vladimir Putin…
A dead coral reef in the Caribbean. Coral reefs are extremely vulnerable to climate change and ocean acidification. superqq/Flickr

In Conversation with environment journalist Elizabeth Kolbert

Scientists are coming to the conclusion that we are on the brink of a mass extinction — the sixth known in the history of the Earth, and the latest since an asteroid killed off the dinosaurs 65 million…
‘I wouldn’t call it a miracle, I’d call it an accident’ – Gessen on Putin’s formative experience with the KGB. Christchurch City Libraries

Speaking with: journalist Masha Gessen on Putin’s Russia

Russian-American writer and LGBT activist, Masha Gessen has covered every major development in Russian politics and culture of the past two decades. She is the author of Words Will Break Cement: The Passion…
‘Shoehorning your imagination into the condition of another human being is the A game in songwriting.’ Mark Seymour, AAP/ MG Promotions

Speaking with: singer-songwriter Mark Seymour

Speaking with: Mark Seymour. CC BY-ND23 Mo (download)
At the Melbourne Writers’ Festival this week, a panel of poets, writers and performers will read and reflect on the poetry of the first world war. Among them is Mark Seymour, the former frontman of Hunters…
‘Cooking is what makes us human’. Flickr

Speaking with: food critic Ruth Reichl

Speaking with: Ruth Reichl. CC BY-ND31 Mo (download)
Ruth Reichl, the former restaurant critic of The New York Times and author of best-selling gourmet memoirs Tender at the Bone and Comfort Me with Apples, is known for describing, in vivid detail, how food…
Andrew Lock personifies the meaning of ‘grit’. Melbourne Writers' Festival

Speaking with: mountaineer Andrew Lock

Speaking with: Andrew Lock. CC BY-ND27 Mo (download)
Andrew Lock is the most accomplished high-altitude mountaineer in Australian history. He is the only Australian, the first person in the Commonwealth, and just the 18th man in the world to climb all 14…
American comedy-drama series Orange Is the New Black. Foxtel

Speaking with: The New Yorker TV critic Emily Nussbaum

Speaking with: Emily Nussbaum. CC BY-ND26 Mo (download)
Over the past decade we have witnessed the rise and rise of long form television – from The Sopranos to The Wire, Game of Thrones to Orange Is the New Black – and no one has been watching this transformation…
Chris Hadfield spent nearly five months on the International Space Station. NASA

Speaking with: Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield

Speaking with: Chris Hadfield.
Colonel Chris Hadfield is one of the most famous astronauts on Earth. Through the creative use of social media, he’s made space exciting and accessible to new generations of enthusiasts, most notably through…

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