New Mardi Gras has announced a new flagship event – Queer Thinking, a celebration of literature, ideas and debate.

Queer Thinking will take over the Seymour Centre all day on Friday, February 26 – the day before the parade — with a program of panel discussions, author in-conversations and artist talks designed to stimulate the enquiring mind.

Visiting authors include the multi-award winning UK writer, Sarah Waters, author of Tipping the Velvet, Fingersmith, and most recently, The Little Stranger, shortlisted for the 2009 Man Booker Prize. Sarah will be featured in a special in-conversation session.

Also making his way to Queer Thinking from the UK is the wickedly funny, Paul Burston (pictured in photo courtesy of Dean Stockings). Paul’s latest novel is the bestselling ‘The Gay Divorcee’, which has received rave reviews from the likes of Julian Clary and Marc Almond. As a special treat for Queer Thinking, Paul will be hosting his unique Polari event, described as ‘London’s peerless gay literary salon’.

Queer Thinking will also feature iconic Dutch photographer, Erwin Olaf, discussing his sexy, bold and highly stylised images. Or for something completely different you can join an illustrated talk on the history of cross-dressing in Australia by the State Library’s Fashion Curator.

Other sessions include the launch of poetry anthology, Out of the Box: Australian Lesbian and Gay Poets, featuring award-winning Australian author, David Malouf joining fellow poets in a reading of their work.

For the academically inclined, Queer Thinking, will satisfy with a provocative line up of panel and keynote sessions from the queer community’s most notable political activists and academics, including an examination of the gay hate crime shooting that took place in Tel Aviv in 2009.

The full Queer Thinking program will be advertised on the New Mardi Gras website in early December.

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