No, it’s not the Australian Cricket team (curse their baggy green caps), it’s the host of Antipodean writers and artists confirmed to take part in next year’s Australia and New Zealand Festival of Arts and Literature, including:

Anthony McCarten, Anita Heiss, CK Stead, Clive James, Ed Hillyer, Emily Ballou, Emily Barker, Evie Wyld, Fay Weldon, Fiona McFarlane, Fleur Adcock, Geoffrey Robertson, Joe Ducie, John Pilger, Judy Corbalis, Julianne Schultz, Kate Forsyth, Kathy Lette, Kim Scott, Lucy Christopher, Margot L Stedman, Mark Dapin, Meredith Hooper, Nicholas Shakespeare, Paula Morris, Robert Dinsdale, Romy Ash, Stella Duffy, Tim Winton, Tony Wheeler and William Shawcross

The festival launched last week in a glittering event at Australia House in London, with Bookswarm’s team beavering away behind the scenes in the preceding weeks to get the festival’s initial web presence up and running. The new website is just the first part of the eventual online presence for the festival, which also confirmed News UK, publisher of The Times and The Sunday Times, as its core media partner.

The Festival was launched at the Australian High Commission on Monday, 25th November. The host of the evening, Australian High Commissioner, Mike Rann said:

‘The Australia and New Zealand Festival will offer audiences in the United Kingdom a unique opportunity to reconnect with some of their favourite writers as well as discover new voices coming out of Australia and New Zealand.’

He was joined on stage by New Zealand High Commissioner, Sir Lockwood Smith who said:

“It is fantastic to see the launch of this great collaboration of literary and artistic talent from New Zealand and Australia. I am very much looking forward to the inaugural festival next year and the showcasing of our exceptional writers and artists.”

The festival, which is produced by Amphora Arts, is in the process of establishing itself as a separate charitable company. As part of the launch announcement, the festival’s first two Trustees were announced, along with the intended formation of a new Advisory Group that brings together a dynamic combination of individuals to support the growth and success of the festival in its first year. The Festival has appointed Bill Samuel, Director of Foyles Bookshop, and Liz Calder, a co-founder of Bloomsbury Publishing and founding director of the long-running Brazil-based FLIP festival as Festival Trustees.