In the first of two programs for 2018, the two-year-old Feminist Writers Festival returns to Melbourne with a series of events in May around the theme of “rewriting the story”.

The line-up – which also includes events in Geelong – features writers contributing in myriad ways to the conversation around feminist issues in Australia. Activism, intersectionality and the #MeToo movement will all be discussed in a far-reaching festival that also has its sights set on sustainable change.

The opening-night gala on Friday May 25 will focus on “legacy books”. Writers will look at feminist literature from the past and present that have made an impact on Australian culture and helped create social change.

Clementine Ford will lead a conversation in Geelong on what’s next for the #MeToo movement following its rise in 2017. Ford will share personal experiences on writing about sexual harassment and assault, and the various ways women are “silenced, questioned, cross-examined and dismissed”.

“Writing Violence, Writing Change”, a panel featuring Tara Moss and Jessamy Glesson, among others, will explore the challenges around depicting violence against women and how such writing can spark discussion, and transparency in the public sphere.

Amy Gray and columnist and author Monica Dux are both hosting workshops for women and non-binary writers looking to find and sustain their feminist voice (applications open on the FWF website on Friday March 30).

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The line-up also includes Jacinda Woodhead (on a panel about mentoring); Sarah Krasnostein, Fatima Measham, Maria Tumarkin (in a panel about challenges stereotypes about women’s nonfiction writing); and Tarneen Onus-Williams, Santilla Chingaipe and Asher Wolf (discussing how activism and writing can intertwine).

The Feminist Writers Festival is on in Melbourne and Geelong, May 25 to 27. Its second 2018 festival will run in NSW in October. Tickets and the full Victorian program are available now at feministwritersfestival.com.