While the 2016 Melbourne Writers Festival (MWF) line-up boasts some world heavyweights – names such as PJ Harvey, Geoff Dyer, Lionel Shriver, A.C. Grayling, Eimear McBride and Lev Grossman will have any lit buff’s ticket-booking finger trembling – this year will celebrate Australian writing and talent in particular; especially important given the announcement in May that many arts organisations will lose their government funding.

Much-loved Australian actor, comedian and writer Magda Szubanski (Reckoning) will talk to Damon Young (The Art of Reading) about the importance of reading as a writer and about the books that have informed their own output.

Benjamin Law, the creator of popular television series The Family Law, will talk with American screenwriter Steven Hely (American Dad! and The Office) about the transition from page to screen and the madhouse world of the writers’ room.

For the opening-night keynote address, Maxine Beneba Clarke (Foreign Soil) – one of the boldest and most prolific literary voices in Australia today – will talk about her new book, The Hate Race, before the Miles Franklin Award 2016 winner is announced.

Recent Kibble Prize-winning author Fiona Wright (Small Acts of Disappearance) will be in conversation with Juliet Jacques (Trans: A Memoir) about writing the self and the hotly contested line between writing and therapy.

Although Sydney’s Festival of Dangerous Ideas will not make its way down south as it did for the 2015 festival, this will be the first year of the Feminist Writers Festival as part of the MWF program. Additionally, the 2016 theme of “identity” will give festival attendees plenty to think about, as will the program’s 400 guest speakers.

Melbourne Writers Festival will be held across various locations in the city from August 26 to September 4, 2016. Tickets for all events go on sale this Friday 22 July at 9am.