What's more important: answers, or questions? Are the ‘big’ questions - life, the universe, everything - more important than ‘little’ ones? Does a good question provoke debate or laughter, lead to certain answers or create reflective pause? Can it change laws, minds or lives? Are questions the best answers?
The Interrobang – a new festival from the Wheeler Centre – is built on the best questions in the world.
Join us on 27–28 November for a feast of frequently unanswered questions – as we present your most controversial, revealing, funny and insightful ideas to a Brains Trust of the world’s most inquisitive thinkers.
The Interrobang is a first: a festival shaped entirely by the public. You ask the questions, you vote on questions, and your questions direct and shape the discussions on stage. Through 27–28 November, you'll find The Interrobang spilling between the Regent Theatre, the Athenaeum and Collins Street Baptist Church in Melbourne's CBD.
Please refer to individual event pages for booking details and relevant booking fees. Fees and charges apply differently at each venue due to the arrangements of each ticketing company and venue. View full ticketing information.
During The Interrobang, your questions will be answered by some of the world's most inquisitive artists, writers, policy-makers, scientists, thinkers, foodies, activists and comedians.
is an artist.
Abdul Abdullah is an artist who works across painting, photography, video, installation and performance. His works are included in the collections of the National Gallery of Australia, the Art Gallery of Western Australia, the University of Western Australia, Murdoch University, the Islamic Museum of Australia and the Bendigo Art Gallery. His practice is primarily concerned with the experience of the ‘other’ in society. Abdullah’s projects have engaged with different marginalised minority groups and he is particularly interested in the experience of young Muslims in the contemporary multicultural Australian context.
Kristin Alford is a futurist and founding director of foresight agency Bridge8 with a PhD in process engineering and a Masters of Management in Strategic Foresight. Her clients include government, corporate and non-for-profits where she builds capability to think and act effectively in response to big social, environmental and technological changes. She was an organiser and facilitator for the Australian Academy of Sciences project imagining Australia in 2050. Other initiatives have included crowdfunding ideas that don’t make sense and running a symposium on time with a start time of 4:42am. She is currently writing a book on five ways to see the future.
Geraldine Brooks is an author and journalist who grew up in Sydney’s western suburbs. In 1982 she won a scholarship to the journalism master’s program at Columbia University in New York. Later, she worked as a foreign correspondent for the Wall Street Journal. In 2006, she was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in fiction for her novel March. Her novels Caleb’s Crossing and People of the Book were both New York Times bestsellers, and Year of Wonders and People of the Book are international bestsellers, translated into more than 25 languages. She is also the author of the acclaimed non-fiction works Nine Parts of Desire and Foreign Correspondence. In 2011, she presented Australia’s prestigious Boyer Lectures, later published as The Idea of Home.
is a writer, director, actor, broadcaster and stand-up comedian.
Alan Brough has worked in film, television, on stage and radio as a writer, director, actor, broadcaster and stand-up comedian. He has appeared in five feature films and in numerous TV shows. Alan is probably best known for his seven year stint as team captain on ABC1’s beloved musical quiz show Spicks & Specks.
is a foreign correspondent specialising in Islamic extremism.
Rukmini Callimachi is a foreign correspondent for the New York Times, covering Islamic extremism. She is a two-time Pulitzer Prize finalist and has been awarded a number of other prestigious awards for journalism/reporting. From 2006 to 2014, she was based in Senegal as the West Africa Bureau chief for Associated Press. She was born in Romania, fleeing to Switzerland when she was five. She studied poetry at university before becoming a reporter.
is an author, broadcaster, columnist, advertising writer and social commentator.
Jane Caro is an author, novelist, speaker, broadcaster, columnist, advertising writer and media and social commentator. She has published seven books, including two novels about Elizabeth Tudor. Her memoir, Plain Speaking Jane, was released in September 2015. She writes regular columns in the Sun Herald Sunday Life magazine, MT magazine and Mamamia Debrief Daily. She appears often in the media, including on the Gruen Transfer, Agony, Q&A, The Drum, Sunrise and Weekend Sunrise.
Mark Colvin is an Australian journalist, filmmaker and broadcaster. He has been the presenter of PM, one of the flagship Australian radio current affairs programs on the ABC Radio network, since 1997. As a foreign correspondent, Mark covered such major stories as the American hostage crisis in Tehran, the events right across the continent as the Cold War began to thaw and the Gorbachev era. As a reporter for Four Corners, Mark made films on the French massacre of Kanaks in New Caledonia, the extinction of Australia’s fauna, and the Cambodian peace process. His film on the Ethiopian famine won a Gold Medal at the New York Film Festival and was runner-up for an International Emmy Award.
Meghan Daum has been a columnist on the op-ed page of the Los Angeles Times since 2005. She is the author of four books, most recently The Unspeakable: And Other Subjects of Discussion, a collection of original essays about sentimentality and manufactured emotion in American life. She is also the editor of Selfish, Shallow & Self-Absorbed: Sixteen Writers on the Choice Not to Have Children, featuring essays from celebrated writers including Lionel Shriver, Geoff Dyer, Pam Houston, Sigrid Nunez and Kate Christensen. She has contributed to National Public Radio’s Morning Edition and Marketplace, This American Life, and has written for numerous publications including The New Yorker, Harper’s, GQ, Elle, Vogue, New York, Travel & Leisure, BlackBook, The Village Voice, and the New York Times Book Review.
Rob Delaney is a writer and comedian who co-writes and co-stars in Catastrophe. His other television credits include Key & Peele, Chelsea Lately, Burning Love, and Cougartown. His first novel and bestselling memoir, Rob Delaney: Mother Wife Sister Human Warrior Falcon Yardstick Turban Cabbage, was published in 2013. He was named one of Variety’s Top 10 Comics to Watch and won the award for Funniest Person on Twitter at the Comedy Central Comedy Awards, and has also been listed as one of The Funniest People on Twitter on such sites as the Rolling Stone, Huffington Post, Vice Magazine, Paste Magazine, Comedy Central, and Funny or Die.
is a molecular biologist, writer and science communicator.
Upulie Divisekera is a molecular biologist, writer and science communicator based in Melbourne. Over her research career, Upulie has worked in cancer research, developmental biology and is currently involved in interdisciplinary nanotechnology research. She co-founded the highly successful science outreach program Real Scientists, and communicates science through writing, performance and radio. Upulie is interested in the intersection of science and culture and looks forward to science returning to its place as an essential part of culture.
is a science fiction author, tech activist, journalist and blogger.
Cory Doctorow is a science fiction author, activist, journalist and blogger and the co-editor of Boing Boing. He is the author of the YA graphic novel In Real Life, the non-fiction business book Information Doesn’t Want to Be Free, as well as other young adult novels and novels for adults. He works for the Electronic Frontier Foundation and co-founded the UK Open Rights Group.
Alan Duffy is a research fellow at Swinburne University, creating model universes within supercomputers to study the growth of galaxies, from the Big Bang to the present day. As well as learning how galaxies form, these simulations let him uncover the nature of the invisible Universe; made up of Dark Matter and Dark Energy. He then tries to explain these discoveries and more on TV with ABC News Breakfast and Ten’s The Project – as well as live, to all ages, from year 2 primary school classes to general audiences.
is a radio host and the director of a wealth management firm.
Tom Elliott is the host of 3AW’s Drive program. He is also a director of Melbourne-based wealth management firm Beulah Capital. Tom writes a weekly opinion column for Melbourne’s Herald Sun newspaper and appears regularly on the Nine Network’s Today and ABC TV’s Agony Uncles series. Tom holds both a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Melbourne and a Bachelor of Arts (Philosophy, Politics and Economics) from Oxford University.
Raimond Gaita is a philosopher and author who has published widely to academic and non-academic audiences. His books include Good and Evil: An Absolute Conception; the award-winning Romulus, My Father, which was made into a prize winning film; A Common Humanity: Thinking About Love and Truth and Justice; The Philosopher’s Dog; and Breach of Trust: Truth, Morality and Politics. His latest book is After Romulus. Gaita is Professorial Fellow in the Melbourne Law School and the Faculty of Arts at the University of Melbourne and Emeritus Professor of Moral Philosophy at King’s College London.
Graeme Innes is a lawyer, mediator and company director. He has been a human rights practitioner for more than thirty years. Graeme was a Commissioner at the Australian Human Rights Commission for almost nine years, responsible for issues relating to disability, race and human rights. In this role he led work on issues including the ratification by Australia of a UN Convention on the rights of people with disabilities, the Same Sex Same Entitlements inquiry, and three inspections of Australia’s immigration detention centres. He is currently the chair of the Attitude Australia Foundation, a startup aimed at using media to change attitudes towards Australians with disabilities.
Sammy J is an award-winning comedian, writer, and songbird. From Melbourne to Edinburgh, he has earned a reputation as one of the most exciting and inventive performers on the international comedy scene.
In 2008, a collaboration with puppeteer Heath McIvor led to the dark musical comedy Sammy J in the Forest of Dreams. The show won the Age Critics’ Award in Melbourne, and went on to receive five-star reviews in Edinburgh and London’s West End. As ‘Sammy J & Randy’, the duo then created Ricketts Lane, a live sitcom which took out Australia’s most prestigious comedy prize – the Barry Award for Most Outstanding Show at the 2010 MICF. The duo’s TV series, Sammy J & Randy in Ricketts Lane, is airing on ABC1.
is a journalist, corporate adviser and advocate for social justice.
Mary Kostakidis is a journalist and for 20 years presented SBS World News. In 1980 she was a member of the management team that developed SBS television. Mary was a member of the National Human Rights Consultation Committee that recommended a Human Rights Act for Australia. A former Chair of USYD’s Sydney Peace Foundation, she has also served on the Advertising Standards Board, the Fred Hollows Board, the National Library Council and Sydney Theatre Board, and is a member of the Privacy Foundation Advisory Panel.
Benjamin Law is the author of two books, The Family Law and Gaysia: Adventures in the Queer East. He is co-author of the comedy book Shit Asian Mothers Say with his sister Michelle. Benjamin is a frequent contributor to Good Weekend, frankie and The Monthly, and has written for more than 50 publications in Australia and worldwide. He’s just finished adapting The Family Law for SBS and Matchbox Pictures, which will screen in 2016.
Adam Liaw is a unique voice in Australian food. He is a food columnist for Fairfax and the Guardian, and the author of four hugely popular cookbooks on Asian cuisines. On television, Adam hosts the SBS food and travel program, Destination Flavour, now in its fourth season. He was the winner of MasterChef Australia’s blockbuster second series in 2010. He is also a qualified lawyer.
is a Gamillaroi/Torres Strait Islander writer and actor.
Nakkiah Lui is a writer and actor and Gamillaroi/Torres Strait Islander woman. She is a co-writer and star of Black Comedy on ABC TV and is a monthly columnist for the Australian Women’s Weekly Online. She has been an artist in residence at Griffin Theatre Company and was playwright in residence at Belvoir from 2012–2014. In 2012, Nakkiah was the first recipient of The Dreaming Award from the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island Arts Board of the Australia Council. The same year, Nakkiah was also the inaugural recipient of the Balnaves Foundation Indigenous Playwright award. In 2014, Nakkiah was the recipient of the Malcolm Robertson Prize and a Green Room Award for Best Independent Production.
is a language expert, and copy editor at The New Yorker.
Mary Norris has spent more than three decades as a copy editor at The New Yorker, where she’s worked with such celebrated writers as Philip Roth, Pauline Kael and George Saunders. Norris’s love of language led her to write Between You & Me: Confessions of a Comma Queen, a manual for untangling the most vexing spelling, punctuation and usage quandaries in English.
is a medical anthropologist and Indigenous health advisor.
Gregory Phillips is from the Waanyi and Jaru peoples, and comes from Cloncurry and Mount Isa. He is a medical anthropologist, has a PhD in psychology and a research master’s degree in medical science. He has 20 years work experience in health, healing, drugs and alcohol, youth empowerment, medical education and health workforce programs. He developed an accredited Indigenous health curriculum for all medical schools in Australia and New Zealand, founded the Leaders in Indigenous Medical Education Network, and wrote a national Indigenous health workforce strategy. He established the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Healing Foundation Ltd, and is a widely recognised leader and adviser. He is currently Executive Director of ABSTARR Consulting, and an Associate Professor and Research Fellow at the Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute.
is a scientist, broadcaster, dolphin specialist and a writer of fiction.
Maggie Ryan Sandford is a science journalist, fiction and comedy writer, and human behavior researcher at the Science Museum of Minnesota, whose work focuses on equity in science education, the relationship between science and art, and cetaceans. With a background in broadcast radio and TV production, sketch comedy, English literature, and biology, her work has appeared in National Geographic, Slate, Smithsonian, McSweeney’s, ComedyCentral.com, mental_floss, the Walker Art Center and Seattle Art Museum, onstage at the People’s Improv and Upright Citizen’s Brigade theaters in New York, and on the Public Broadcasting Service and National Public Radio. She is currently at work on a book about dolphins.
Cheryl Strayedis the author of the number one New York Times bestselling memoir Wild, the bestselling advice essay collection Tiny Beautiful Things, the novel Torch and the quotes collection Brave Enough. Her books have been translated into 40 languages around the world. Strayed’s essays have been published in Best American Essays, the New York Times, the Washington PostMagazine, Vogue, Salon, the Sun, Tin House and elsewhere. Strayed is the co-host, along with Steve Almond, of the WBUR podcast Dear Sugar Radio, which originated with her popular Dear Sugar advice column on The Rumpus. Strayed holds an MFA in fiction writing from Syracuse University and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Minnesota.
is an author, journalist, publisher and social and political commentator.
Anne Summers is a bestselling author, journalist and thought leader with a long career in politics, the media, business and the non-government sector in Australia, Europe and the United States. She is the author of several books including the classic Damned Whores and God’s Police. Her most recent book The Misogyny Factor was published in June 2013. She writes on politics and social issues regularly for a number of Australian newspapers including Sydney Morning Herald. She is the editor and publisher of the digital magazine Anne Summers Reports, and hosts Anne Summers Conversations – public events where she engages in discussion with well-known people.
Voranai Vanijaka is the editor-in-chief of GQ Magazine Thailand. He teaches Political Communication and Intercultural Communication at Thammasart University. From 2008 to May 2014, he was a political commentator with the Bangkok Post newspaper. He won the MR Ayumongol Sonakul Writer of the Year Award in 2011 for his columns. He has been a commentator on Thai politics for the international media, and is a frequent guest speaker in local and international seminars and forums. He has hosted three political talk shows.
is an economist and former Greek Minister of Finance.
Yanis Varoufakis read mathematics and economics at the Universities of Essex and Birmingham. He has been professor of economics at the Universities of East Anglia, Cambridge, Sydney, Glasgow, Athens and Texas, as well as an in-house economist for a software company. He is also the author of a number of books. Varoufakis was, in his own words, ‘thrust onto the public scene by Europe’s inane handling of an inevitable crisis’. He was elected to Greece’s Parliament with the largest share of votes in January 2015 and served as Greece’s Finance Minister (January to July 2015). During his term he experienced first-hand the intricate and complex functioning of Europe’s top decision-making bodies (including the Eurogroup), the IMF, as well as the global political, economic and financial arena. He is a passionate on issues relating to the ongoing Greek calamity, the Eurozone, the future direction of Europe, the global economy (especially in the context of the 2008 crisis), economic thinking, digital money and trends in contemporary capitalism.
Sally Warhaft is a Melbourne broadcaster, anthropologist and writer and the host of the Wheeler Centre’s live journalism series, The Fifth Estate – now in its fourth year. She is a former editor of The Monthly magazine and the author of the bestselling book Well May We Say: The Speeches that Made Australia. Sally is a regular host and commentator on ABC radio and has a PhD in anthropology. She did her fieldwork in Mumbai, India, living by the seashore with the local fishing community.