Jessica Rowe.

Bendigo Writers Festival, which boasts 150 presenters in more than 90 events across seven venues, this year features a glittering lineup of star writers.

With the city bidding to become a UNESCO City of Gastronomy, food, health and sustainability are very much part of the festival agenda.

Australia’s top food writer, Jill Dupleix, will be telling audiences about the finest and most innovative restaurants in the country.

The Friday night event, always a festival standout, features popular SBS Food Safari presenter, Maeve O’Meara.

“Another guest sure to be popular is ‘food and mood’ psychiatrist, Felice Jacka, whose new book is about how to feed a healthy brain,” Capital Venues and Events Manager David Lloyd said.

“Saturday night’s event in Ulumbarra Theatre tackles the biggest question of them all – What Is Life? with astrobiologist Paul Davies
returning to Australia to deliver this keynote address which reveals the very latest in what scientists believe is the foundation of life itself.

“To close the festival, inspirational surgeon Munjed Al Muderis will talk about going back to Iraq, 18 years after he fled to Australia as a refugee, to perform life-changing limb replacement surgery on people who had lost limbs in the war against ISIS.”

Also on the program are American fire management expert Stephen J Pyne, PEN International President and novelist Jennifer Clement, bestselling Korean-American novelist Min Jin Lee and British philosopher AC Grayling.

Australian writers include Peter Doherty, Clementine Ford, Greg Fleet, Alan Kohler, Charles Massy, Jessica Rowe and Ranjana Srivastava. The full program is released online at on June 5, and will be published in the Friday, June 14, edition of the Bendigo Weekly.