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The Dean's top 6 picks for the Sydney Writers' Festival

24 April 2018
With over 450 speakers, where do you start? Well, here…
From 30 April to 6 May, this year's Sydney Writers’ Festival will tackle contemporary issues head on exploring power. Think sex, money, politics and identity.

Drawing on an stellar line-up of authors, journalists, politicians and pop stars, Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Professor Annamarie Jagose, shares her top picks for the Sydney Writers' Festival.

1. Marcia Langton: Welcome to Country

According to Tourism Australia statistics, overseas visitors and Australian travellers are eager to learn more about Australia's first peoples. And while the Indigenous tourism industry continues to grow, no comprehensive guide to Indigenous tourism has previously been published. Marcia Langton's Welcome to Country: A Guide to Indigenous Australia, is an inclusive guidebook to Indigenous Australia and the Torres Strait Islands. Hear Marcia chat to The Saturday Paper's Erik Jensen about appreciating 50,000 years of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander culture and history.

2. Drawing the Line of Ethics and True Crime Writing

How does a writer approach a true crime story? What responsibility do they have to the victims? Attend Drawing the Line of Ethics and True Crime Writing and catch Associate Professor Rebecca Scott Bray in conversation with authors Peter Doyle and Kate Rossmanith, as they delve into the process, ethics and experience of writing about true crime.

3. Pretty for an Aboriginal

Pretty for an Aboriginal, a podcast by BuzzFeed, is candid and irreverent as it challenges traditional perceptions of Indigenous Australia and rigid mindsets of what people of colour can and cannot do. In this live podcast recording, see podcast host, comedian and playwright Nakkiah Lui and festival guests Zinzi Clemmons, Cleo Wade and Glory Edim discuss sex, relationships, ambition, success, power and race.

4. The Politics of Empathy

In a world where extreme voices threaten to erode our individual and collective identities, positive human relationships are an increasingly fortifying antidote. Attend The Politics of Empathy and join Pulitzer Prize-winning author Junot Díaz (Islandborn), Pajtim Statovci (My Cat Yugoslavia) and Sarah Krasnostein (The Trauma Cleaner) as they tackle some of the most pressing questions of our age, consider how empathy can be a political issue, and how storytelling can promote connection in a fragmented society.

5. Story Club

Story Club is a themed live storytelling night where exceptional people sit in a giant armchair and read true stories out of a novelty-sized book. With the theme 'Let Us Never Speak of this Again', hear guests share their funniest stories, darkest moments and their shameful secrets.

6. Still Processing

A live recording of the critically acclaimed podcast, Still Processing. Two of the funniest writers and podcasters working today, The New York Times' Jenna Wortham and Wesley Morris, unpack the latest in pop culture and try to make sense of a world that's going more haywire by the week. Intellectual, goofy and raw, be prepared for an epiphany or two as the NYT duo record their podcast live on stage in front of a festival audience. Dr Bruce Isaacs will introduce and chair this session.

7. Eileen Myles: To Dig a Hole in Eternity

This is a "bonus pick" not a selection of the Dean's but one that surely can't be missed.

Attend Eileen Miles: To Dig a Hole in Eternity and watch Professor Annamarie Jagose as she chats with legendary New York poet, novelist and performer, Eileen Myles. Annamarie will talk with Eileen about their formidable career, including their 1994 landmark novel Chelsea Girls and, most recently, the wrenching Afterglow (a dog memoir).

Don't forget to check out the 16 University of Sydney academics at the Festival, as they discuss everything from Donald Trump to climate change; immersive histories to the future of China economy; sport to religion.

The University of Sydney is a Premier Partner of Sydney Writers' Festival.