Dear Book Lovers,
The decision to cancel MJBW 2020 was made on the cusp of MJBW releasing its full festival program in late March. We wish to acknowledge and celebrate the work of so many people that made this fabulous program possible. We invite you to visit our website and take a look at the rich line-up of local talent, international headliners and specially curated literary performances that we were so excited to bring to you. We hope it inspires you to some further reading and discovery of a host of exciting authors. 

Enjoy the following selection of videos or podcasts for many of the writers who were due to be part of MJBW 2020. The videos or podcasts do not necessarily (and in most cases do not) relate to the topics they were going to address at MJBW – hopefully, that will still come face-to-face.

Enjoy them at your leisure in these difficult times. We will be sharing more MJBW 2020 links with you in future newsletters.


Nicolas Brasch
Festival Director, MJBW


Dennis Altman

Lunchbox/Soapbox: Dennis Altman: The End of the Homosexual?

Dennis Altman reflects on decades of cultural and political change, both local and global, and considers the future of sexuality: is this the end of the homosexual that gay liberationists predicted 40 years ago?

Podcast Episode
Hana Assafiri

The Change Up interview

Hana Assafiri is an activist for women's rights and is creating a big change in her community. She hosts an event called 'Speed Date A Muslim' at her Moroccan Soup Bar in Melbourne to help break down the fear and divide between 'us' and 'them'.

Roz Bellamy

Triple Bi-Pass

In this first of a two-part series, host Anthony asks why Roz chose queer writing. Roz explains her own journey while developing her writing to more accurately reflect her lifestyle, and what influenced this change.

Podcast Episode
Ali Berg and Michelle Kalus

The Good Reading Podcast with Melbourne co-authors Ali Berg and Michelle Kalus

In this episode, Ali and Michelle talk to gr's Emma Harvey about balancing friendship with co-authorship, sharing a Kindle account, and sneaking their new novel onto Melbourne's public transport.

Podcast Episode
Tony Birch 

The Garrett Interview

Tony Birch talks literary fiction and writing place with MJBW Director Nicolas Brasch. 'Every place that you want to write about or a place that stands in place of the fictional, life is being enacted there.'

Tim Bonyhady 

Art Forum: Tim Bonyhady at The Australian National University

Tim Bonyhady on art and the environment.

Podcast Episode
Jessica Bram

The Conversation Hour: Down the rabbit hole with Wonderland 

Ali Moore and Katrina Sedgwick talk to Jessica Bram, curator of the Wonderland exhibition; and Matt and Wendy Crandall, who lent pieces from their collection for the Wonderland exhibition.

Anne M Carson

Writing Poems about Death of Beloved

Dr. Gloria Horsley interviews Anne M. Carson, a poet from Australia, at the 2015 Association for Death Education and Counseling conference. 

Podcast Episode
Orly Castel-Bloom

Litopia Human Parts by Orly Castel-Bloom

Permanent winter in a desert climate, a dentist with no face, a woman finding material wealth in the midst of poverty, a governmental minister whose full time job is to attend funerals – all this and much, much, much more.

Josh Cohen

Josh Cohen at 5x15 on Not Working

Josh Cohen recorded live at the Tabernacle in London's Notting Hill on 11th March 2019.

Deborah Conway

Deborah Conway and Willy Zygier, THE SHTICK interview

Henry Greener interviews singer and musicians Deborah Conway and her husband Willy Zygier.

Podcast Episode
Joanne Dannon

Write with love: episode 13

Sarah Williams interviews Joanne Dannon, author of 13 contemporary romances.

Mark Dapin

Mark Dapin: Fact and Fiction in the Vietnam War

Have our impressions of the Vietnam War been moulded more by Rambo than reality? Mark Dapin suspects so and that’s a problem, he argues, because military history is as much about the way a war is remembered as the conflict itself. So, how can we access the truths of the conflict?

Avi Duckor-Jones
Bookmarks: Avi Duckor-Jones on Afternoons with Jesse Mulligan

Avi Duckor-Jones talks to Jesse Mulligan about writing, books, music and his favourite films. Including why the Wizard of Oz reminds him of his family.

Sam Duckor-Jones

People from Featherston stand up - poet and sculptor Sam Duckor Jones

Sam Duckor Jones is a talented young artist best known for his distinctive, whimsical clay sculptures of men – characters he sends out into the world. But sculpture is just one of Sam's media. He is also a poet, and his first book of poetry and drawings is called People From the Pit Stand Up.

Deborah Eisenberg

Writers Series: Deborah Eisenberg

Recipient of a 2009 MacArthur Fellowship, Deborah Eisenberg was recently recognized by Ben Marcus, writing in The New York Times, as "one of the most important fiction writers now at work." Winner of the Rea Award for the Short Story, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and three O. Henry Awards, Eisenberg's latest work is her 1,000-page Collected Stories, the culmination of four earlier volumes of fiction.

Anna Epstein

Jewish homeland in the Northern Territory with Phillip Adams on Late Night Live

In 1933, a Yiddish poet travelled through Australia’s Northern Territory on a mission - to find a homeland there for the world’s persecuted Jews. Melekh Ravitsh had arrived in Australia with a letter of introduction from Albert Einstein, and until now has been an unheralded contributor to the pre-WW2 search for a safe Jewish territory.

Podcast Episode
Gigi Fenster 

Author interview, Feverish

Wellington author Gigi Fenster pitched an unusual PhD proposal to the International Institute of Modern Letters at Victoria University - she would induce a fever in herself and the result would be both an analysis of the process of inducing that fever, and whatever work that came out of it. Feverish is her memoir of that attempt, a family story, and a study in empathy. Fenster's first book, The Intentions Book, was shortlisted in the fiction category of the 2013 NZ Book Awards. She has a number of law degrees, and teaches creative writing at Rimutaka Prison.

Elizabeth Finkel

Women in STEM: Dava Sobel and Elizabeth Finkel in conversation

Cosmos Editor-in-Chief Elizabeth Finkel and renowned science writer Dava Sobel talk about women in science, the history of astronomy, and Sobel’s new book The Glass Universe.

Podcast Episode
Andrea Goldsmith

An episode of Books and Ideas at Montalto

How do we become estranged from ourselves – and from the people and places that have moulded us? What’s the way back? And how can we begin again? At Montalto with Michael Williams, Goldsmith discusses her latest novel and her body of work.

Stay safe, stay well and keep reading everyone

If you wish to contact us, please email

Melbourne Jewish Book Week takes place on the land of the Kulin nation. We pay our respects to their elders, past, present and future.
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