The Book Club format is changing this year, in its 10th anniversary year.
Instead of screening once a month it will now air as a weekly programme across 13 weeks from May.
ABC Arts has also announced two new series, Creatives and Meet the Mavericks airing across March and April.
Creatives is a 4 x 30min biographical series about four highly talented Australian artists from the fields of theatre, music, art and dance, who have each made significant contributions to the cultural life of this country.
Kev Carmody: Songman (Tuesday 15 March) captures the unusual creative process of one of Australia’s most celebrated songwriters as he sets about his latest musical adventure. Kev Carmody, nicknamed Australia’s black Bob Dylan, co-wrote “From Little Things Big Things Grow” – the most famous Aboriginal anthem ever written. This tribute features interviews with Paul Kelly, Missy Higgins and Dan Sultan.
Michelle’s Story (Tuesday 22 March) follows the dramatic events in the life of talented Australian dancer, Michelle Ryan, who danced for Meryl Tankard’s Australian Dance Theatre, famed for its ground-breaking choreography. Michelle relates the heart-wrenching story of her shock MS diagnosis, its tragic fallout and the slow path to rehabilitation as she works with disabled dancers as Artistic Director of Adelaide’s Restless Dance Theatre. Intimate access to Michelle is captured by the acclaimed choreographer Meryl Tankard, making her directorial debut on the ABC.
Patricia Piccinini: A Dark Fairytale (Tuesday 29 March) is a portrait of world-renowned Australian artist Patricia Piccinini – famous for creating bizarre mutant creatures. The film examines her roots and influences, along with the profound impact the death of her mother had on the artists work.. It follows too the transitions Piccinini has made from one theme to another, as she explores the interface between technology and nature and makes a new series of work, collaborating with husband Peter Hennessy for the first time.
John Bell: One Man Show (Tuesday 5 April) is a special tribute to award-winning icon of Australian theatre. It records a lifetime spent enthralling audiences, as on the eve of his 75th birthday the actor bows out of Bell Shakespeare, the company he founded 25 years ago. This documentary observes John Bell preparing his final show and includes interviews with friends, family and colleagues. Spine-tingling archival footage tells the story of the young Shakespeare obsessive, who once entertained his parents with his one-man puppet show version of Macbeth.
The Creatives season is followed by Meet the Mavericks, a new 5 x 30min interview series featuring some of our most iconic artists, performers, cultural leaders and all around troublemakers, in conversation about their work, passions, shared experiences and takes on the world. The series provides a deeper look at Australians who challenge and shape our cultural landscape. Meet the Mavericks pairs guests from different generations and fields who have aspects of their work or areas of interest in common:
Archibald prize winning painter and activist Ben Quilty, with indigenous filmmaker and visual artist Warwick Thornton
Turner Prize winning sculptor, TV presenter and cross-dresser Grayson Perry, with comedian and author Magda Szubanski
Award winning actor, Miranda Tapsell, with mentor and fellow actor/director Leah Purcell
Cultural commentator and Radio National host Phillip Adams, with musician, actor, and composer Tim Minchin
Triple j host, satirist, documentary maker and author John Safran, with his British counterpart and fellow gonzo journalist Jon Ronson
Celebrating its 10th anniversary, The Book Club will return in May and will screen weekly for 13 weeks.
Jennifer Byrne will again be joined by fellow book-lovers, and long-time club members, Marieke Hardy and Jason Steger, plus show favourites Michael Williams, Michael Robotham, Leigh Sales, Adam Liaw, Virginia Gay and Ben Law to name a few.
The season kicks off with a special episode – Jennifer Byrne Presents: Andy Griffiths – an intimate interview with Australia’s best-selling author and king of the kids, Andy Griffiths.
The Book Club will also return for its annual hour-long end of year special in December.
For those viewers itching to get some Book Club action before May, stay tuned for Bookish – a fun new weekly short-form program exploring all aspects of books, writing and the world of publishing, available exclusively on ABC Arts on iview.
This new Tuesday night line-up complements ABC TV’s upcoming prime-time Arts offering, which will include Matilda and Me, David Stratton’s Story of Australian Cinema, Stop Laughing… this is serious (Series 2), Streets of Your Town and the Artsville strand.