Writers Week 2023 Summary

An Overview of the 2023 Adelaide Writers Week

The sun has now set on another Adelaide Writers Week. Throughout this year though, it has been a different sort of week, one mired by controversy. Yet, upon my visit to this event, there was little that I found to be controversial about it. In fact, it was yet another year full of incredible writers with equally incredible books.

Disclaimer: I really wanted to put this up earlier, but I have been so super busy with starting a new job that writing for this blog has been a low priority.

What Was This Controversy?

If you have read my recent opinion piece “Lit Fest Madness”, you will get more of an explanation of the controversy. Long story short, two of the authors who appeared, Susan Abulhawa and Mohammed El-Kurd, had caused some considerable controversy. Abulhawa has been a critic of the Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky and for her views of Israel, which El-Kurd shares too for Israel. They’ve been labelled ‘antisemitic’ due to these opinions by various media outlets.

Did this controversy boil over into full on protests of the festival? In the end, it didn’t really. I attended the talk El-Kurd gave, alongside Randa Abdel-Fattah, Ramzy Baroud and Peter Singer. I saw no opposition to El-Kurd, although there was apparently some with Abulhawa, primarily from pro-Ukrainian advocates. The South Australian Premier said he considered pulling government funding for the event, but decided not to. His claims for this was that it would make him no better than the Russians trying to censor free speech.

Our View of the Talk ‘Authors Take Sides’ with Mohammed El-Kurd, Randa Abdel-Fattah, Ramzy Baroud and Peter Singer.

Back to this talk with El-Kurd that I was at. While there, both me and my fiancé understood why this was so controversial. In particular to El-Kurd, Abdel-Fattah and Baroud, they offered the other side to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

It’s a side we rarely ever hear in the west as most of our media is very pro-Israel. We were seeing the other side, which we’ve always been told was wrong. It really opened our minds to how grey this conflict is and why it’s important to hear both sides before making a conclusion.

Just starting as a cadet journalist too, it shows me the challenges that this job will hold for me. Even if I will be in regional media, I know problems like this are ones that I’m likely to encounter.

Primarily Fiction With Some Saved TBRs

The purchases made at this year’s Adelaide Writers Week were predominately fiction. As budget is tight and our bookshelves are already overflowing, we had to restrict ourselves with purchases.

The image included showcases the books that we picked up while at the event. These were books that caught our attention a lot, be it the plot lines or our previous experiences with books. This was the case for Randa Abdel-Fattah’s Does My Head Look Big in This? We had both really enjoyed her book When Michael Met Mina and wanted to get another one of her books. This one is special as we got it signed by her at the event. It was an experience meeting her, saying how much we had enjoyed When Michael Met Mina and how her talk opened our minds more.

The Books We Picked up at This Year’s Adelaide Writers Week

Just because we only picked up four books does not mean the event had little to offer in terms of reading material. In fact, it is the opposite. I have a lot of books that interested me and are now saved as TBRs to get from the library in future. You will see these in future on here, whenever I get the chance to upload.


For all the controversy surrounding this year’s Adelaide Writers Week, it still was a worthwhile experience. The books on sale there are ones I cannot wait to read down the track and it was worth meeting Randa Abdel-Fattah while we were there. There are plenty of other talks too I would love to listen to when/if they come out on Spotify, like they have for the last two years.

As always, I look forward to what next year’s Writers Week will hold.


Comments are closed.

Website Powered by WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: