Students give their take on the Sydney Writers’ Festival program

6 April 2018
Inside the launch of Australia’s biggest celebration of writing
Our Sydney Writers’ Festival student reporters, Bianca Farmakis and Haydn Hickson, got the inside scoop at this year’s program launch party – what to expect, who to see and their take on the 2018 theme: ‘Power’.
Our student reporters outside Carriageworks

Haydn Hickson: Girl, I had such a fun time. Michaela McGuire’s speech was such a highlight, I literally don’t know how I’m going to make all the events I want to go to. Oh, and don’t even get me started on all the food!

Bianca Farmakis: Oh the food was fantastic… But more importantly the line up, and all the new changes! I love how Sydney Writers’ Festival is celebrating it’s twenty-first year of operation like it’s turning 21 – it’s a whole new era.

Haydn: Yeah, like the location change? Having it just down the road at Carriageworks is such a good move. The area is gorgeous, plus am I allowed to be selfish and say I’m happy that it’s a five-minute walk from class?

Bianca: The move is great. I think so many more university students are going to be inclined to go, and there’s something about exposed brick walls and discussing literature… Who are you most excited to see?

Haydn: Still Processing for sure is who I’m most keen for. Since their announcement as headliners I’ve been checking out their podcast and they are so funny. Everything they say I just completely agree with. Genuinely… I want their jobs.

Bianca: Oh me too... I don’t know what to think of the theme of the festival – ‘power’. It instantly gets my attention, and I can’t wait to hear about all things sex, money and politics related. But I really wonder, with all the different writers coming in, how they’re going to address it?

Haydn: Yeah look, even though ’power’ is so broad, I don’t think there’s ever been a more perfect year for it, considering the current news and political environment. It’s diverse enough to keep everyone unified, but can also hone in for more niche chats.

Bianca: I seriously can’t wait for Julia Guillard.

Haydn: I died at the playback of her misogyny speech at the launch party! If she’s good enough for Rhianna, she’s good enough for us.

Bianca: Also, speaking of politics, super keen for Katy Tur. I can’t wait for her to go through all her moments writing about Trump. Legit, it’s going to be as hilarious as it is interesting.

Haydn: I’m pretty interested in the LGBTQI events, so Gay for Page – and I have to see André Aciman talk about his new book, Call Me By Your Name. It was amazing and I’d love to see the man behind the book.

Bianca: Real talk though – Sydney Uni pride is running strong right now. We’ve got 16 academics speaking on panels as well as 11 grad writers (there’s hope for all those brooding arts student writers!). Non-fiction speakers Haydn, thoughts on that?

Haydn: There are actually some pretty interesting chats about China I’m keen to catch. I think that a lot of students would be interested in Minglu Chen’s talk about Xi Jinping. It’s not something I know much about and I haven’t seen it much in the media, so I would be very keen to catch it. Also a Sydney Uni business professor Hans Hendrischke has a talk about the potential end of China’s economic miracle, which sounds scary and interesting to say the least!

About the reporters

Bianca is in her final year of a Media and Communications degree, majoring in English. Haydn is a third year Media and Communications student, majoring in Film Studies and Marketing.

Stay tuned

Discover all this and more at the Sydney Writers’ Festival 2020, from 27 April – 3 May at Carriageworks and the Seymour Centre. Follow our Sydney Writers’ Festival reporters as they capture the festival highlights first hand on Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat.

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


Last updated: 15 January 2020