By Carla Zuniga Navarro
Each year, the Sydney Writers’ Festival sets the stage for artists and fans to unite. The festival shines a light on popular Australian authors, journalists and commentators, and brings a range of international figures to our shores.
In the festival’s 19th year, we will see 400 local and 60 international speakers, set to discuss their work in over 65 different venues around Sydney. The theme? Bibliotherapy – the practice of therapeutic reading.
Gloria Steinham is a headliner, set to discuss women in power and feminism. Other guests include American novelist and essayist, Jonathan Franzen, first Jamaican writer to win the Man Booker prize, Marlon James, author of The Girl on the Train, Paula Hawkins, historian Peter Frankopean and, keeping with the theme, bibliotherapist Susan Eldurkin.
Australian writers include Anna Funder, Rosie Waterline and Charlotte Wood, UNSW Arts & Social Sciences alumna, and author of The Natural Way of Things, which was shortlisted for the Stella Prize. We are also joined by journalist Stan Grant, whose speech on racisim and the Australian dream went viral online.
UK beat poet and performer Kate Tempest will give the opening address on May 17, a recitation of her award winning work. Other major events include “Why Women Should Rule the World: how many female CEO’s will it take to change the world?”, featuring Steinham, Indian activist, Ira Trivedi, and journalist, Laura Tingle on the panel.
“How to Die Well,” a panel hosted by Andrew Denton, will see physician Lea Kaminsky, award winning screen writer Cory Taylor and social and consumer trend researcher, Dr Rebecca Huntley, discussing euthanasia laws in Australia.
ABC’s Sarah Kanowski will also lead a talk called “Friendship, Hateship, Loveship”, and feature Hanya Yangihara, author of A Little Life, Nicholas Fargues and Julia Leigh, Australian author and director of Sleeping Beauty. Stay around to see them discuss the extremes of love, friendship and anger.
Another program highlight is the Thinking Globally series, supported by UNSW Arts & Social Sciences, featuring the former finance minister of Greece, Yanis Varoufakis, Oxford academic and author of The Silk Roads, Peter Frankopan, former political advisor in Iraq Emma Sky, co-founder of Médecins Sans Frontières Jean-Christophe Rufin and Aleksandar Hemon, one of the most interesting voices in contemporary fiction.
This year, the festival will traverse through a range of ideas – philosophical to the technological, feminist to the futurist, fiction to current affairs. There’s something for everyone.
For more details (and to see the full-line up!), check out the Sydney Writers’ Festival website: www.swf.org.au
UNSW Arts & Social Sciences are a proud major partner of the Sydney Writers’ Festival. Now in our seventh year of support our partnership with the Sydney Writers’ Festival is built on our commitment to exploring big ideas, creating new knowledge, and tackling critical social issues.