The Brisbane Writers Festival kicked off at the Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre last night with an address by Geoffrey Robertson QC.
The event, which runs until September 9, features both local and international writing talents, including a number of first-time authors.
Featured international names on the schedule include Trainspotting author Irvine Welsh, The Devil Wears Prada author Lauren Weisberger, and the creator of the Divergent series, Veronica Roth.
Mr Robertson, who is a human rights barrister, the author of several books and is known by many for his television program, Geoffrey Robertson’s Hypotheticals, is at the festival to talk about his second memoir, Rather His Own Man.
The memoir charts Robertson’s progress from his time as a state school student to his role as a leading figure in the fight for human rights around the world.
Mr Robertson said it was a privilege to introduce the festival and his address highlighted key world news events, including the resignation of former Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s and Australian filmmaker James Ricketson’s recent sentencing in Cambodia.
“I am here to make my own small contribution to literature by way of an autobiography,” he said.
“I’ve written this book about my life beginning, of course, in Australia, and one of the themes, which might be taken up by this year’s festival, is that of censorship of literature.”
The annual opening address was named in honour of the late Marion Taylor, a long-time attendee of the Brisbane Writers Festival.
Described as an avid reader and always eager to encourage others to enjoy literature, Marion Taylor, who died four years ago, had indulged her passion annually at the Brisbane Writers Festival.
Her daughter, Fiona Taylor, said she was proud to begin to support the writer’s festival in her mother’s name.
“Marion was someone who always championed education and learning, whether that was through formal education or from reading, travelling and experiencing,” Ms Taylor said.
“The viewing of Geoffrey Robertson’s Hypotheticals was mandatory in our house, and our mother would be delighted that he’s this year’s speaker for the Marion Taylor Opening Address.”
Acting Brisbane Writers Festival CEO Ann Mclean said the event prioritised accessibility to all walks of life.
“We’re in our 56th year, which means that we’ve got an amazing support base and incredible community,” Ms Mclean said.
“From the seventh to the ninth we’ve got about 200 events, with 140 authors.”
“So, it’s a giant collection of different voices and ideas.”
Tickets to the festival are still available. Visit bwf.org.au for details.