The Festival of Questions

Sun 15 Oct

Melbourne Town Hall


Treat yourself to The Festival of Questions—a series of thoughtful, quick-witted and exhilarating discussions that will change how you see the world.

The Wheeler Centre brings some of the sharpest and funniest thinkers of today together across four sessions to wrestle with the big questions facing Australia, and the world.

Think: culture, class and climate; politics and punditry; philosophy and feminism. What are the issues that divide and unite us? Do terms like ‘right wing’ and ‘left wing’ still have any meaning? Is the world changing too fast, or not fast enough?

Join us for a day of storytelling, comedy, debate, discussion and possible disarray. Open your mind, and mind the whole world’s business.

All sessions of The Festival of Questions will be Auslan interpreted.

Questions for the Nation (12—1.30PM)

Julian Burnside, Geraldine Doogue, Gareth Evans, Deborah Frances-White, Rebecca Huntley

What are the most important questions facing Australians—today and in the future? At this first session, co-hosted by Rebecca Huntley and Deborah Frances-White, each of our speakers will present their ideas on the issues Australia needs to confront head-on. Then it’s over to you.

What is Right? What is Left? (2.30—4PM)

Oslo Davis, Lauren Duca, Shen Narayanasamy, Tim Wilson

What has happened to the old political spectrum? At this essential debated hosted by Sally Warhaft our speakers—will dissect hot-button topics from immigration to economic protectionism. They’ll argue for new political forces, formations and possibilities. With Oslo Davis sketching oddball, observational cartoon commentary live.

Philosophical Fight Club (5—6.30PM)

Anna Krien, Kenan Malik, George Megalogenis, Jamila Rizvi, Geoffrey Robertson

Fight! Fight! Fight! Fight! Our diverse line-up of intellectual heavyweights will go to the mat and wrestle with some of the biggest, ugliest and toughest philosophical dilemmas facing Australians today. Host Geoffrey Robertson will grill out panellists Socratic-style, posing questions on population growth, ethical consumption, global terrorism and more.

What the Hell? The Handmaid's Tale in 2017 (7.30—9PM)

Lauren Duca, Quinn Eades, Deborah Frances-White, Krissy Kneen, Celeste Lidde

We’re concluding the Festival of Questions with an evening of readings, rantings, debate and discussion inspired by The Handmaid’s Tale. Why has Margaret Atwood’s uniquely disturbing vision of feminist dystopia struck such a chord in 2017? We’ll pull apart and rebuild The Handmaid’s Tale with our panel of Aunts. Join us for an exploration of the surreal, the sinister and the speculative in popular culture today.


Julian Burnside
Geraldine Doogue
Lauren Duca
Gareth Evans
Deborah Frances-White
Rebecca Huntley
Krissy Kneen
Anna Krien
Amy Mcquire
George Megalogenis
Shireen Morris
Shen Narayanasamy
Jordan Raskopoulos
Helen Razer
Jamila Rizvi
Geoffrey Robertson
Tim Wilson
Damon Young

Plus more to be announced

The Wheeler Centre

The Wheeler Centre is the world’s first dedicated centre for books, writing and ideas and Melbourne’s home for smart, passionate and entertaining public talks on
every topic.

Across 230+ events each year and a unique collection of videos, podcasts and original writing, you’ll find some of our finest local and international writers and thinkers sharing their expertise, their imaginations and their ideas. For more information visit

Presented in association with the Wheeler Centre 
  • With support from

PHOTO | Getty Images/iStockphoto