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Alexei Sayle, Christos Tsiolkas and Benjamin Law at MWF
  • 5 MWF Events Film/TV Lovers Don't Want to Miss

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    Posted on: 25/08/2016

    Contrary to popular belief, writers festivals aren’t just about books.

    This year’s Melbourne Writers Festival has plenty to offer for lovers of film and TV, from discussions about adapting stories from the page to the screen, to entertainment heavyweights taking to the stage to share insights into their careers. There are also interactive events offering a completely different interaction with the written word.

    To celebrate the art of writing melding with screen culture, here are a quintet of events this MWF that you don't want to miss.

    A tour de force of the 1980s comedy landscape, The Young Ones was making waves on TV screens around the world. Alexei Sayle both wrote for and starred in the groundbreaking sitcom, unique and memorable for its offbeat brand of alternative comedy.

    Now, Sayle comes to MWF to talk about his memoir, Thatcher Stole My Trousers, and the intersection of politics and comedy in the UK during his ascension in the world of show business. In conversation with Richard Fidler, Sayle's talk is one for lovers of comedy who want to dig a little deeper.

    Traveling forward three decades, how does TV comedy now compare to the genre in past times? Sayle teams up with Steve Hely, who’s written for 30 Rock, The Office, American Dad! and more, to talk about TV Comedy Then & Now.

    This conversation looks at the evolving nature of comedy, as well as giving TV lovers a chance to hear two leading names delve into the finer aspects of their craft. Go behind the scenes to discover what it's like working on a major US network show, or what it was like crafting the incredible banter in The Young Ones.

    Hely is also appearing with our very own Benjamin Law in The Writers’ Room, talking about the similarities and differences between TV writing in the US and Australia. Law’s hilarious memoir, The Family Law, was adapted into a hit SBS series earlier this year and focuses on the experiences of Chinese Australians. With season two just around the corner, Law will be offering plenty of insights into the world of screen based writing.

    Family Law Blog Image

    Another writer who’s had his books adapted to the screen is Christos Tsiolkas. The Slap offered a searing portrait of Australian urban life and familial relationships, earning not only an Australian TV mini-series but a US spin-off with Uma Thurman, Peter Sarsgaard, Thandie Newton and Melissa George (reprising her role as Rosie).

    More recently, Tsiolkas' Barracuda has been written for the screen. The award-winning Australian author is joined by Barracuda producer Tony Ayres in Barracuda: From Page to Screen, where they’ll detail the process of transforming Tsiolkas’s novel into a gripping four-part miniseries, as well as discussing themes of adolescence, failure and class.

    Remember Letters and Numbers? If you're a fan, this year there is a very special MWF edition of the beloved SBS game show! Late Night Letters and Numbers is everything you remember about the TV show, but interactive and in person. With guests including David Astle, Tegan Higginbotham and Lawrence Leung, host Nick Caddaye will guide you through a rollicking evening of puzzles, brain teasers and more.

    Check out the full Melbourne Writers Festival program to see what else is on offer this year.

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