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What Not To Miss At This Year’s Sydney Writers’ Festival

By Mathew Trenear
25th Apr 2018

sydney's writers festival

If you’re resolution was to read one new book a month (guilty) and you still have gotten all the way through to chapter two (sssssssssh! Who told you?!) then this year’s Sydney Writers’ Festival right up your alley. Some of the best pens in the biz from both Australian and across the seas, are headed to Sydney to chat all things power and its role in all of our lives #deep this May.

The week-long festival will see author talks, performances, panels, in conversations (and if an author chats to you for an hour about their book that counts as reading it, right?), as well as a few special events that you’ll want to add to your iCal stat.

Here are all the best things happening at the 2018 Sydney Writers Festival.

André Aciman, Min Jin Lee and Alexis Okeowo | Opening Address

Three of the best authors in the biz will kick start the festival chatting all things (you guessed it) power, and how it relates to politics, money, sex and identity, as well as literature, storytelling and journalism. Andrê Aciman, Min Jin Lee and Alexis Okeowo will go deep and discuss IRL power imbalances in our world today, that you might just have missed. Get more info here.

When: Tuesday 1 May, 6:30pm-7:30pm
Where: Carriageworks
Cost: $35

An Evening With Geoffrey Robertson | Special Event

The internationally renowned human rights lawyer, Geoffrey Robertson, will be holding two sessions to reflect on his ultra-eventful life. He’ll look back on the most iconic moments of his personal and professional life, sharing stories of his high-profile career as a lawyer, working in the UK Supreme Court (that’s just one of his many achievements, how’s your life going?) and his ongoing commitment to human rights.

When: Monday 26 March, 5:30pm-6:30pm & 7:30pm-8:30pm
Where: City Recital Hall
Cost: $35

Insiders Live @ Sydney Writers’ Festival | Special Event

Join ABC TV’s Insiders team, hosted by Barrie Cassidy, to discuss and reflect on Australia’s political highs and lows over the past year. Lead journalists will share their views from inside the industry and there will even be a segment with cartoonists. Now we’re talking. Deets are here.

When: Wednesday 2 May, 7:30pm-9:30pm
Where: Carriageworks
Cost: $35

Melanie Cheng: On Reading And Empathy | Author Talk

Australia’s own Melanie Cheng, writer and General Practitioner, will give us all an insight into the neuroscience behind empathy and how reading fiction has the ability to impact it. She will take a look at whether fiction is able to strengthen someone’s empathy, and whether too much of it is a bad thing.

When: Thursday 3 May, 3pm-3:40pm
Where: Carriageworks
Cost: Free

Junot Díaz: Islandborn | Author Talk

This Dominican-born author joins Wheeler Centre Director Michael Williams to discuss his famed children’s book, Islandborn (if you love pictures, you’ll want to nab yourself a copy of this one), and delve into how he portrays the themes of identity and belonging. He’ll also touch on of his most celebrated works, ‘The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao’—you’re feeling more cultured already, aren’t you?

When: Thursday 3 May, 6pm-7pm
Where: Carriageworks
Cost: $35

Ceridwen Dovey: In The Garden Of The Fugitives (State Library of NSW) | Conversation

Author Ceridwen Dovey will chat all things ‘In the Garden of the Fugitives’, her latest novel that follows the story of two characters reunited after twenty years of forbidden communication. The story has it all—obsession, guilt and power (remember guys, we’re all about the power at this year’s Sydney Writers’ festival). The novel was selected for the impressive ‘5 Under 35’ list in the US, if that doesn’t convince you, then we don’t know what will.

When: Monday 30 April, 12:30pm-1:30pm
Where: State Library of NSW
Cost: Free

ABC Radio’s Conversations And ABC RN’s The Bookshelf Live Broadcast | Conversation

Start this session with host Sarah Kanowski, broadcasting a fascinating and engaging AF real-life story. Then Kate Even and Cassie McCullagh take the stage along with some special guests to chat their fave books of the moment (and help you bulk up that monthly reading list).

When:  Friday 4 May, 11am-1pm
Where: Carriageworks
Cost: Free

Fox And Friends: The Far Reach Of Murdoch | Panel

If one of your favourite hobbies is sitting and listen to a bunch of people that seriously know their stuff, then this one’s for you. Gabriel Sherman, David McKnight, Erik Jensen and Miranda Devine are joining forced to discuss and debate the power of Rupert Murdoch and his media empire. Nothing is off limits; from the influential role he plays in not only Australian media, but also international coverage, and his role in shaping public opinion and government policy. Twitter fiends this one has your name all over it.

When: Friday 4 May, 8pm-9pm
Where: Carriageworks
Cost: $35

Derision For Homeowners Won’t Save You – Discomforting Innercity Stories | Performance

Join MC Monique Schafter and a collection of actors from Little Fictions for an evening of performance fiction in one of Sydney’s best small bars. Grab yourself a drink, sit back, and watch stories of inner-city Sydney unfold on stage. Think a cold case from Camperdown, house-hunters in Sydenham and a Darlington flâneur.

When: Tuesday 1 May, 7pm-10pm
Where: Knox Street Bar
Cost: $20


This performance will see comedy, literacy and performance art all marry together for a show guaranteed to entertain the hell out of you on a Wednesday night. Brain Lipson takes literacy greats (Shakespeare we’re looking at you) and turns them into fictional versions of themselves. It’s sure to be laugh out loud funny.

When: Wednesday 2 May, 7pm-8:20pm
Where: Carriageworks
Cost: $30

Love a good page turner? Check out the books you should have read this summer.

Image Credit: Sydney Writers' Festival

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