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Spring Fling is back! This October we’re welcoming a host of captivating international guests, local icons and emerging voices live and in person at the Wheeler Centre and venues across Melbourne.

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With 24 events taking place in just under two weeks, there’s a lot to see and do, so we’ve put together a guide to help you plan your 2023 Spring Fling experience.

Whether you’re passionate about fiction, science, extraordinary true stories or big ideas, or just want to come along and take part in our fancy dress parade – there’s a Spring Fling event to suit every taste, and this guide can help you find yours.

First Nations First

Melissa Lucashenko + Jane Harrison

Don’t miss Miles Franklin Literary Award-winning Goorie author Melissa Lucashenko in conversation with Evelyn Araluen on 6 October about her new novel Edenglassie, which offers a searing insight into the colonial past of so-called Brisbane.

Bundle it with a ticket to Jane Harrison at the Wheeler Centre on 10 October, when the playwright and descendant of the Muruwari people discusses her radical retelling of the events of 26 January 1788 in her new novel The Visitors.

Fantastic Fiction

Hernan Diaz + Trent Dalton + Jane Harrison + Melissa Lucashenko + Rebecca Makkai + Caroline O’Donoghue + The Next Big Thing: Above and Beyond

Fiction lovers have a busy Spring Fling ahead of them as we welcome a host of award-winning authors to discuss their latest works. Hernan Diaz, Rebecca Makkai and Caroline O’Donoghue join us from overseas, while closer to home, Trent Dalton, Melissa Lucashenko and Jane Harrison appear in conversation about their new novels. And don’t miss a special Spring Fling instalment of the Next Big Thing, as five debut authors share readings from their newly published works.

Extraordinary Lives

Spring Fling Opening Night + Robyn Davidson + Pia Miranda

At our Opening Night event on 4 October, writer and disability activist Hannah Diviney, tennis champion Jelena Dokic, award-winning author Melissa Lucashenko, prominent campaigner for the Voice Thomas Mayo, and Zimbabwean-Australian singer, actor and writer Rufaro Zimbudzi will share reflections and readings on times they’ve been called to go above and beyond, along with a special performance by singer-songwriter Emma Donovan.

Legendary author of Tracks Robyn Davidson (11 October) and Looking for Alibrandi star and Survivor champion Pia Miranda (11 October) appear at Spring Fling discussing their lives, careers and new books.

Big Issues

E.W. Cole Lecture + Leigh Sales + Creative Witnessing

Engage with big thinkers and big ideas at this trio of Spring Fling events that tackle pressing questions in our society. On 5 October, join journalist and documentary-maker Santilla Chingaipe as she takes to the Wheeler Centre stage to deliver the E.W. Cole Lecture exploring the provocation: who gets to write history?

Head to the Wheeler Centre again on 7 October, this time to hear from photojournalist Andrew Quilty and artist Ben Quilty as the cousins appear in conversation for the first time, discussing artistic responsibility and creative witnessing, preceded by a special address by Afghan researcher and advocate Shuja Jamal. Grab a bite afterwards at the Moat before heading back upstairs to hear ex-7.30 host and 2023 Gold Logie nominee Leigh Sales discussing her new book Storytellers: Questions, Answers and the Craft of Journalism.

Musical Moments

Lonnie Holley + Spring Fling Opening Night + Everybody’s Trying to Find Their Way Home

On the first day of Spring Fling, the legendary Lonnie Holley will take the stage at the Wheeler Centre to discuss his remarkable life and work. Originally hailing from Birmingham, Alabama, Holley is renowned for his unconventional approach to art and music and will close his Spring Fling conversation with a special musical performance.

Then on 4 October, singer songwriter Emma Donovan joins us for Spring Fling Opening Night at Melbourne Town Hall, speaking and performing songs in response to the 2023 series theme: Above and Beyond.

On 14 October, singer-songwriter Jen Cloher will record an episode of their powerful podcast Everybody’s Trying to Find Their Way Home with First Nations musicians Allara, Breanne Peters and Uncle Kutcha Edwards, exploring connection to culture, language and self through conversation and performances.

Pop Culture Pods

See Also + Everybody’s Trying to Find Their Way Home + Sentimental Garbage

This Spring Fling offers three live podcasts to choose from – or choose them all! First up, See Also on 10 October: join Melbourne locals Brodie Lancaster and Kate Jinx as they discuss what they’ve been watching, reading and listening to, as well as all the latest pop culture moments currently breaking the internet.

Don’t miss Jen Cloher and a panel of Māori and First Nations songwriters recording Everybody’s Trying to Find Their Way Home, Cloher’s podcast, live at the Capitol on Saturday 14 October.

Finally, close your 2023 Spring Fling experience at the first ever Australian live recording of international podcast sensation Sentimental Garbage. Don’t miss host Caroline O’Donoghue as she is joined by a very special local guest to deep dive into Australian pop culture – highbrow, lowbrow, and everything in between.

Science Lovers

Infinity and Beyond + Ed Yong + Lost In Space

Spring Fling’s 2023 theme, Above and Beyond, comes to life in these science and space-focused events.

On 5 October, journey across the West Gate Bridge for a guided tour of the universe at Scienceworks, at a special World Space Week event curated by space archaeologist Dr Alice Gorman and featuring experts on Indigenous astronomy, theology and poetry. A week later, get your space fix at the Wheeler Centre as we invite you to join us on a Choose Your Own Adventure journey with authors Amie Kaufman and Lili Wilkinson. They’ll write a sci-fi story in real time, guided entirely by the audience.

Round your science ticket package off with Pulitzer Prize-winning science journalist Ed Yong on 14 October. Yong joins us in Melbourne for an insightful look at the animal kingdom and his latest book, An Immense World: How Animal Senses Reveal the Hidden Realms Around Us.

Adventures for All Ages

Deep Sea Divas + Lost In Space

Kids can enjoy a fin-tastically entertaining morning on Saturday 7 October at Deep-Sea Divas, hosted by the one and only DANDROGYNY and featuring a craft workshop, underwater fancy-dress parade and No Lights No Lycra dance party. Then, on 13 October, don’t miss Lost in Space, a Choose Your Own Adventure storytelling evening.

Spring Fling ticket packages are on sale now. Simply purchase three or more eligible Spring Fling events as part of a package and receive 15% off full price tickets.

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The Wheeler Centre acknowledges the Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung people of the Kulin Nation as the Traditional Owners of the land on which the Centre stands. We acknowledge and pay our respects to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and their Elders, past and present, as the custodians of the world’s oldest continuous living culture.