Bendigo Writers Festival has unveiled the full three-day program for August 9 to 11, with a galaxy of stars and a supernova of sessions set to light up the end of winter.
"We've dusted off the mirror balls, for a bit of retro party-time," Capital Venues and Events manager David Lloyd says.
"With a new venue to add to our constellation, the Festival Precinct will now be even more accessible and welcoming, so audiences will enjoy hearing all the absolutely brilliant writers on this year's program."
The Festival launch was held at Bendigo Bowls Club, which will host sessions throughout the day, and then become the Festival Club on Friday and Saturday nights.
Festival director Rosemary Sorensen announced the international writers on the program, as well as some of the 150 Australian speakers heading to Bendigo in August.
Festival guest Greg Fleet spoke about the writing life, as a comedian, memoirist and novelist. Feature events in Ulumbarra Theatre at the Festival this year include Friday night's World of Food with Food Safari presenter, Maeve O'Meara.
On Saturday night, world-renowned astrobiologist Paul Davies tackles the biggest question of them all - What Is Life?
And for a dazzling finale, the internationally acclaimed surgeon Munjed Al Muderis will present the Closing Address on Sunday at 4.30pm, talking about how hope and courage can change lives.
"Gastronomy is big on this year's program," Ms Sorensen said.
"We are keen supporters of the City of Greater Bendigo's bid to become a UNESCO City of Gastronomy, so we have food writer Jill Dupleix, sustainable farmer Charles Massy and food-and-mood expert Felice Jacka, on the program.
"We're welcoming British philosopher AC Grayling for discussions about democracy, criminal psychologist Julia Shaw, to talk about evil, and from New York, Min Jin Lee, to talk about Korea."
Also on the program:
Clementine Ford on Boys Will Be Boys
Louise Milligan on Cardinal
John Marsden on Parenting
Alan Kohler on Money and Ethics
Benjamin Law on Growing Up Gay
Ranjana Srivastava on A Better Death
Speakers include Peter Doherty, Chloe Hooper, Kerry O'Brien, Ginger Gorman, Kate Forsyth, Jessica Rowe, Don Walker, Greg Fleet, Jane Caro and Don Watson.
The Text Marks the Spot free schools program takes place on Friday, and a new series of Entrée Events on Friday morning give audiences a chance to get out and about in Bendigo.
"We're delighted to be collaborating with the Great Stupa of Universal Compassion, for an event with the "bad Buddhist", Meshel Laurie," Ms Sorensen said.
"And in the heart of Bendigo, at the beautiful Soldiers Memorial Institute Military Museum on Pall Mall, there's a first-time event about the women poets of Central Victoria writing during the First World War.
"There's a special launch too, of a new book about Bendigo, called Sludge, to be launched by John Brumby, Chancellor of La Trobe University."
Bendigo Writers Festival is presented by the City of Greater Bendigo in partnership with La Trobe University and supported by Bendigo Tourism.