Posted by: Lisa Hill | August 23, 2021

Mildura Literary Festival, online in 2021

Why have I never been to Mildura?  I’ve wanted to go there ever since Stefano di Pieri was featured on our TVs and I added his restaurant to my bucket list.  And now that there’s a Mildura LitFest, I want to go there more than ever.  But though it looks like a great destination once you get there, Mildura is a very long way to drive from Melbourne, there’s nowhere that appeals to me* as a stopover en route, and there isn’t a train to get there.  (There is a train to Swan Hill and then a coach for two-and-a-half hours to Mildura, but no, after once doing rail to Sale and then Bairnsdale by coach I am *never* doing that again.  I love trains; I hate coaches.)

However, it’s a problem I don’t have to solve until next year because the MWF (not to be confused with that other MWF) had to pivot online due to statewide Covid restrictions and I got to attend their festival virtually anyway.

Apart from the pleasure of hearing an author talk featuring Shokoofeh Azar (about whom you have heard much here at ANZ LitLovers) and her novel The Enlightenment of the Greengage Tree, there were other sessions that I really enjoyed.  If you’re a Masterchef Tragic like me, you’ll love Season 4 contestant Alice Zaslavsky in conversation with Stefano de Pieri, and there are notable poets to hear as well The Murray Talk featuring Judith Nangala Crispin.

But I really wanted to share with you my thoughts about the session titled Imaginative Possession: Belinda Probert interviewed by Upswell publisher Terri-ann White.  Now, even if you’ve never heard Terri-Ann, you know about books she’s published during her time at UWAP because I’ve reviewed 33 of them here at ANZ LitLovers.  As some of you may know there was some #understatement recent upheaval at UWAP and the upshot is that Terri-Ann White has started her own publishing company — and one of her authors got to spruik her new book at the Mildura Festival.

Because any excuse to peruse interesting new books is all I need,  I went exploring at the Upswell website, where I discovered that not only can you buy Belinda Probert’s new book, you can also subscribe to this year’s list of three and thus also get a new novel by John Hughes, whose name you may remember from this plus The Sweetest Fruit by Vietnamese-American Monique Truong.  (As Belinda Probert said in the interview, if Terri-Ann says it’s a good book, you can trust her opinion.)  If you’d like to support this venture, click here and subscribe to Upswell. You can buy individual titles too, of course.

Many thanks to the Mildura Arts Festival for adapting so well to The New Normal and bringing us the pleasure of hearing from the writers featured at the festival!

For access which starts at $15, sessions at the Mildura Literary Festival include:

New Voice: Paul Kane presents the Tina Kane Emergent Writer Award to Taonga Sendama
The Anarchist Poet: Pi O in conversation with Christos Tsiolkas
The Enlightenment of the Greengage Tree with Shokoofeh Azar interviewed by Nic Brasch
Cultural Leader: Wesley Enoch in conversation with Fiona Blair
Judith Nangala Crispin: poetry
Sensing Food: Alice Zaslavsky in conversation with Stefano de Pieri
Imaginative Possession: Belinda Probert interviewed by Upswell publisher Terri-ann White
The Murray Talk 2021 Judith Nangala Crispin: Talking to Country

*If you like national parks, wildlife and camping, there are lots of great things to do en route.  It’s just me being an indoor sort of person that makes it difficult.



  1. I’ve been on the old Vinelander train to Mildura (they had hot bricks for your feet on cold nights), but that was in 1960. The line’s still there though, just no trains.


    • Yes, that’s right. Jeff Kennett shut it and other rural rail lines down because it was ‘uneconomic’ in the 1990s, but though the Labor government restored many of them, they didn’t restore the Mildura line. I think it was because they had plans to run a high-speed service straight through but they needed federal money for a large infrastructure project like that, and federal governments of either stripe have never supported high-speed rail.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. […] and this book, Imaginative Possession, Learning to Live in the Antipodes by Belinda Probert from my post about the Mildura LitFest.  I really like the subtitle — it makes it clear that migration takes effort and humility.  This […]


  3. How did I miss this post and this festival. I have been to Mildura – once back around 1980, and I particularly remember its art gallery. I think it has gone ahead in leaps and bounds since then. We also went through Mildura in 2000 en route to the Centre, but we didn’t spend time there as our goal was the Centre.

    For me, the drive from Melbourne to Mildura would be wonderful – though the Mallee and places like Wycheproof, Sea Lake, Ouyen. But then, I love being on the road and visiting little towns. BTW I do not like camping . This drive would be similar to, if not a little shorter than, our drive to Melbourne from Canberra, a drive we plan to do more often (when borders are open again) as we figure driving will be covid-safer than airports! In the past we have mixed flying and driving, but, we’ll see.

    Anyhow, I have now subscribed to Upswell as well!


    • That’s great about subscribing, the more we support these small indie initiatives, the more wonderful books we have to read:)
      Yes, re Mildura, you obviously do like driving more than we do, or LOL being in the great outdoors and looking at it more than I do. We used to do wine touring by car, to the Hunter, South Australia, but I couldn’t face it now.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, agree.

        And yes I know you did. What has changed?


        • Basically because we’ve ‘been there, done that’ and I can’t be bothered driving for hours and hours anymore. There are so many lovely places close by here in Victoria that we don’t need to go farther afield.

          Liked by 1 person

  4. […] will remember my post about the Mildura LitFest, in which I shared the news that readers can subscribe to this year’s list of three books and thus […]


  5. […] will remember my post about the Mildura LitFest, in which I shared the news that readers can subscribe to this year’s list of three books which […]


  6. […] be bought from them directly or from booksellers, but they also have a subscription program, which Lisa and I took part in last year, receiving their first three books: John Hughes’ The dogs, […]


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