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Festival Muse

A Four Day Festival for the Brain and Belly

Festival Muse is a long weekend of events that brings together some of Canberra’s most intriguing individuals.

It’s new, fabulous and you don’t need to pack a suitcase to travel across the literary and culinary landscape of Australia. Our little capital city is teeming with talent so get excited as we celebrate curiosity, conversation, creativity and consonance over damn fine coffee and canapés. Oh, and wine. Let’s get festive!

Friday Night – Festival Opening

Women of the Press Gallery panel discussion

Grab a glass and find out the highs, lows and how-tos of reporting politics from the Hill. Join Guardian Australia political editor Katharine Murphy, Primrose Riordan (The Australian), Katina Curtis (AAP) and panel chair Karen Middleton (The Saturday Paper) for an op-ed worthy discussion.

Welcome/Opening drinks reception to follow. More wine of course.

Tickets: $25

6PM – 7PM

Saturday Afternoon

Room to Move: Renovating a Nation’s Stories

In collaboration with Canberra’s Noted Festival and Los Angeles-based Lambda Literary, the USA’s largest LGBTIQ literary organisation, we present superb speakers from the world of television and literature talking the ways we make and hold wriggle room for queer stories in predominantly straight, cisgender, white creative fields and frameworks.

Radio producer, writer and youth advocate Yen Eriksen will be live in Canberra with an online panel streamed in from across Australia (Brisbane-based indigenous author Ellen Van Neerven, Sydney-based television producer Julie Kalceff; Lucy Watson, online editor for Archer Magazine) and author Tom Cho in Canada. It’s the only international event for the Lambda festival and will be streamed online to connect with Lambda’s inaugural literary festival in LA.

After the discussion stay on to meet and mingle with other festival participants, live music and, predictably, wine.

Tickets: $15

1PM – 3PM


With veteran broadcaster and women’s rights and gender equity advocate Virginia Haussegger and husband Fairfax Media national political editor Mark Kenny.

Muse are putting a gentle spotlight on one of Canberra’s power couples to find out how they nourish both their creativity and their relationship. It’s a conversation to explore work, creative output, family, politics and friendship – what’s best combined, best kept separate and what’s the secret?

Tickets: $15

4PM – 5PM

Saturday Night

The Cupping Room Kitchen Takeover

Just what can happen in the Muse kitchen when someone new steps in? Find out as Jerome Felix, Head Chef at celebrated Canberra hangout The Cupping Room takes the helm, serving up a suite of contemporary seasonal flavours matched with some smashing local wines.

They’ll begin with canapes in the bookshop and move up into the restaurant for a three-course dinner. Jerome will be interspersing food courses to talk about his food philosophy, sign copies of his gorgeous, recently released The Cupping Room Cookbook and give us some intel on his exciting new 2017 business venture.

Tickets: $80 + $40 for wine pairing

From 6PM

Sunday Afternoon

Question Time with Robyn Cadwallader

What do you get when you ask a prominent someone twenty rapid-fire, unrehearsed questions? Truth, dare, obfuscation or heartfelt honesty? Muse shines a lamp on 2016 ACT Book of the Year winner Robyn Cadwallader (The Anchoress) to dig a bit deeper and maybe find out a secret or two. Irma Gold leads the interrogation but naturally, no-one expects the Spanish Inquisition.

Tickets: $15

2PM – 3PM

Historians in Dark Times

With the history wars apparently over, are professional historians making sense of the nation’s past? And who’s listening anyway? Meet Ann McGrath, Frank Bongiorno and Margaret Hutchison – three of Canberra’s busiest historians, all adept at telling the stories both grand and granular that together have shaped the Australia in which we live today.

It’d be un-Australian to not have a drink with this one, so entry includes a glass of Canberra wine or a local beer because #straya.

Tickets: $15

4PM – 5PM

Sunday Evening

Beetroot, Bassoons, Mulch & Music

What happens when you get two of Australia’s most intriguing musical minds in the one room? Conductor and keyboardist Roland Peelman has electrified the capital’s classical music scene since taking over as artistic director of the Canberra International Music Festival. Meanwhile, gardening expert and maker of the “Baroque Bassoon-osaurus” Simon Rickard is not only one of Australia’s top early music practitioners, he’s also an expert on the ins and outs of heirloom vegetables. Join Simon and Roland as they talk broad beans and Buxtehüde. It’s entirely possible that there will be a live classical music jam session.

Tickets: $15

6PM – 7PM

Monday Lunch – Festival Closing

They’re getting out into the neighbourhood and taking Muse on the road! Join Muse at Telopea Park this Canberra Day for food, wine, music and great conversation.

They’ll be joined by chef Janet Jeffs, gardener and musician Simon Rickard and food writer Liz Posmyk to dish the dirt on food – growing it, making it and securing it for future generations. Later on, there will be food, drink and more besides, so grab a blanket and kick back for an a-Muse-ing afternoon.

Oh – and this one is FREE!

Please note this off-site event is dependent on approval and permits from the ACT Government; wet weather contingency is to hold the discussion at Muse. There will be wine.

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