VU at Melbourne Writers Festival

Victoria University academics feature strongly in this year's Melbourne Writers Festival line-up.

The Melbourne Writers Festival brings together more than 300 writers - including some of the biggest names in contemporary literature - alongside anthropologists, feminists, scientists and politicians for a series of events from August 22 to September 1.

Creative and Professional Writing lecturer Dr Natalie Kon-yu joins fellow Australian writers Francesca Rendle-Short and Maya Linden to share stories on female friendship in Between Friends on August 23. Dr Kon-yu recently co-edited a collection of essays about female friendship, called Just Between Us.

Meanwhile, Overland literary journal editor Jeff Sparrow joins historians Jill Dimond and Helen MacDonald to discuss Ned Kelly and theories of the infamous bushranger's missing skull in Ned Kelly's Bones.

On August 24 PhD student Chi Vu will join Julienne van Loon to discuss their novellas, both of which transfer Asian mythologies into Australian settings in Asian Stories, Australian Postcodes. The central figure of Chi Vu's Anguli Ma: A Gothic Tale, is taken from traditional Buddhist folktale and is a deranged killer who wears his victims' fingers in a garland around his neck. Chi Vu presents him as a menacing abattoir worker who carries bloody chunks of meat home in plastic bags through 1980s suburban Melbourne.

Creative and Professional Writing lecturer John Weldon joins broadcaster Jess McGuire and health journalist Jill Stark to discuss Australia's drinking culture and the impact that our relationship with alcohol has on our individual and national life in Cheers, Mate!, also on August 24. Mr Weldon's debut novel about modern manhood, Spincycle, became a top ten best seller at last year's Melbourne Writers Festival.

On August 25 Mr Weldon returns with a panel of first-time authors, in a session called First Flight, to look at what make some writers stand out from the crowd to get their work published.

That same day The Art of Writing for Children session has writing teacher Sherryl Clark joining author and publisher Jane Godwin to discuss what children want to read and publishers want to publish in a seminar for writers and writers-to-be. Ms Clark will also launch her new verse novel Runaways that day.

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