7 reasons to go to the Sydney Writers’ Festival

19 April 2018
Being super close to Camperdown campus is only one of them
From discounted tickets to interactive workshops, international authors to discussions on #MeToo, here’s why you should check out the Sydney Writers’ Festival, taking place at Carriageworks and the Seymour Centre this year.

The 2018 Sydney Writers’ Festival (30 April – 6 May) will tackle contemporary issues head on, with this year’s program revolving around the theme Power. Think sex, money, politics and identity.

16 University of Sydney academics will join a stellar line-up that consists of 400 Australian authors, politicians, journalists and sports figures. International writers are also in abundance – over 50 at last count – including Amy Bloom, Junot Diaz, Jennifer Egan, Tayari Jones and Robert E. Kelly (aka the BBC dad).

Director Michaela McGuire says this year’s festival is “going to make a firm case for literature and vigorous public conversation being an antidote to backward-lurching culture.”

If that’s not enough to convince you, here are seven more reasons not to miss the Sydney Writers’ Festival. 

1. Meet André Aciman, author of Call Me By Your Name

A must see. André Aciman, critical darling and author of Call Me By Your Name – one of the most moving and celebrated films of 2017 – will talk about how the novel came to life and what it was like to see his work adapted for the big screen. If you liked the film, you’ll love hearing André speak.

2. Get discounted tickets

Who doesn’t enjoy a discount? Well, we’re in luck – Sydney Uni students, graduates and staff are entitled to a 10% discount on adult tickets. Email to get the code!

3. Catch The New York Times’ hit podcast duo

Another can’t-miss – 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 Pulitzer Prize winner 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.

4. #MeToo – examined and discussed  

The advent of #MeToo was a watershed in feminist culture – smashing taboos and sparking public discussion on women's rights, equal pay and sexual harassment.

This is not a moment, it’s a movement brings Tracey Spicer, New York Times culture writer Jenna Wortham and Washington Post journalist Irin Carmon together to examine the tidal wave that is #MeToo.

They’ll look at the impact new (and old) media has had on the movement and why Australian law may prevent it from ever gaining full momentum here.

5. Convenient and completely Insta-worthy location

The Sydney Writers’ Festival has moved. The super chic industrial space that hosts Fashion Week – along with a whole bunch of art and food festivals – is now the new home of the Sydney Writers’ Festival. And Carriageworks is only a 5-minute walk from campus. 

Fun fact: Carriageworks is a refurb of the old Eveleigh Railyards. The blacksmithy vibes inside and out make Carriageworks the perfect background for your next Instagram shot.

While you’re there, grab a drink and a buckwheat Korean noodle bowl at the Cornerstone Bar. It’s pretty darn tasty.

The Sydney Writers’ Festival also has talks and workshops around other pockets of Sydney including our very own Seymour Centre, Sydney Town Hall, Parramatta and the Blue Mountains. 

6. Queer iconoclast Eileen Myles meets super Dean of the Arts and Social Sciences

Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, author, LGBTQI scholar, and all around cool academic Professor Annamarie Jagose will go deep with legendary New York poet, novelist and performer, Eileen Myles in To Dig a Hole in Eternity.

Annamarie will investigate the nooks and crannies of Eileen’s formidable career, including their 1994 landmark novel Chelsea Girls and, most recently, the wrenching Afterglow (a dog memoir). And no, that wasn’t a typo – Eileen prefers to use gender-neutral pronouns. Respect.

7. Don’t want to just listen? Join a workshop instead

As the country’s biggest celebration of the written word, the Sydney Writers’ Festival is more than just great talks – you can also attend workshops taught by real writers. Whether you want to learn the tricks of the best speechwriters, build an enthralling narrative or just learn how to ask better questions, there’s a workshop to get you there.

The bonus is you won’t have far to travel – workshops are held on campus at the Seymour Centre.

The 2018 Sydney Writers’ Festival is held from 30 April – 6 May at Carriageworks and the Seymour Centre.

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


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