The Canberra Writers’ Festival board has apologised for sentiments expressed in a Twitter feud over the inclusion of former deputy prime minister Barnaby Joyce in its 2018 lineup.
Board member and author Steve Lewis engaged with fantasy author Russell Kirkpatrick over the weekend after The Canberra Times revealed that Joyce was just one of the authors featured in the 110 events to be held over the weekend of August 23-26.
In a now deleted Twitter conversation Kirkpatrick criticised the festival for an under representation of women and the inclusion of Joyce. Lewis responded and things got heated with Lewis calling Kirkpatrick “pathetic” and a “dickhead”.
Lewis publicly apologised for the spat and Kirkpatrick accepted his apology.
On Tuesday the festival board issued an official apology saying Lewis’ views “did not represent the views of the board and the board apologises to anyone offended by his behaviour. The board will review these issues at its next meeting.”
The theme of the festival is Power, Passion and Politics and the official statement from the CWF said “the inclusion of former deputy prime minister, and current member for New England, Barnaby Joyce falls within the politics theme with the launch of his autobiography at the National Press Club”.
It said the Press Club, a corporate partner of the CWF, hosted politicians as part of its core purpose and “was indeed hosting this event within its auspices”.
It also said the program featured more than 110 events, with 90 women and 82 men as authors and moderators.
The festival’s first event sold out on Tuesday: Badass Women of History, featuring Kathy Lette, Annabel Crabb at the National Library of Australia. The festival has sold more than 2500 tickets in just four days of sale.