2020 has been a beast of a year, defined simultaneously by a longing for the past and a desire to launch headlong into a disease-free future. Suddenly we are all nostalgic for the days when we could hug and travel and had never heard of a tiny flu-like virus that shared a name with a Mexican beer.
So there has never been a better time than now to talk about Nostalgia.
This year’s Literature & Ideas program brings together scientists, performers, journalists and writers from across Western Australia and the world (via livestreaming), whose words explore the memory and longing that lie at the heart of feelings of nostalgia.
Spread across three weekends, the program kicks off on 13 February with A Day of Ideas, a gathering that helps connect the city with the river on which it sits. A series of interlinked conversations about the history, philosophy, science and future of our river provide a platform for Western Australians to think about the challenges and opportunities that are presented by this place where we find ourselves.
The conversations continue on 20 & 21 February as we take over His Majesty’s Theatre for the Literature Weekend in the City. From sweeping historical fiction to musings about lost love and secret regrets, we mine the rich terrain of Nostalgia. It won’t all be sentimental though – we’ll also examine harder, more troublesome edges by exploring the revisionism inherent in political nostalgia and questioning the motives of those who pledge to re-make greatness that – perhaps – never existed.
We’ll wrap things up with Wild Things, a day of family fun at Perth Zoo to celebrate the close of the Festival on 28 February, where the young ones can engage in a little bit of nostalgia too.
For the full program
Image credit: Rachel Audino