Editor Group was proud to be a sponsor of the Sydney Writers’ Festival again this year. Not only did we proofread the Festival’s program, we were enthusiastic attendees!

Highlights for us included the opening night address, featuring authors Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah, Max Porter and Meg Wolitzer speaking about the role of lies in everyday life, politics and human history. (Read our Book Club post about Porter’s brilliant novel Lanny.)

The entertaining ‘Suffragettes, Referenda and Sausages: The History of Democracy in Australia’ saw political journalist Annabel Crabb and historians Judith Brett and Clare Wright discuss the little-known role Australia’s suffragettes played in securing women the right to vote in Britain and the US.

We loved ‘Toby Walsh: 2062 – The World that AI Made’, on how artificial intelligence will transform every aspect of our lives, from warfare to the workplace. Our team also gave great reviews for ‘Dead Europe?’, on the future of the European Union in light of current political and economic upheaval, and Markus Zusak’s talk on his long-awaited novel Bridge of Clay.

We also had the chance to relax over a glass of wine or two in the Festival’s bar.

Thousands of book lovers enjoyed talks by more than 410 Australian and international writers at more than 320 events at this year’s festival. It was a wonderful celebration of the power of great writing, and books in general.

As Susan Orlean, author of The Library Book, said in her session, “We connect to books not as paper and glue, but as extensions of ourselves. They are a vessel of human expression and are close to us in a way that few other things are. From the beginning of time, our relationship to books had been something unique, something magical”. We couldn’t agree more.

If you missed out on attending this year’s event, many of the sessions are being posted to the Festival’s podcast channel. Highlights so far include:

  • George Saunders in Conversation with Paul Holdengräber – Man Booker Prize–winner George Saunders discusses the state of contemporary literature and its relationship to empathy, politics and power.
  • Behrouz Boochani: No Friend but the Mountains – Kurdish-Iranian journalist, refugee and winner of the 2019 Victorian Premier’s Prize for Non-Fiction and the 2019 Victorian Prize for Literature, Behrouz Boochani speaks from Manus Island about his moving memoir No Friend but the Mountains. 
  • Max Porter: Lanny – following on from his brilliant opening night address, Max Porter speaks about his new work, Lanny. The novel has been called “a rich, twisted, gloriously cacophonous novel of village life” by The New York Times.
  • “I Do Not Want to See This in Print” – Annabel Crabb talks to 2018 Walkley Award–winner Sharri Markson, political reporter Samantha Maiden and The Australian columnist Niki Savva about the difficult relationship between politicians and the media.
  • Sticks and Stones: Defamation Law – Australian defamation law is under scrutiny in this timely discussion, featuring journalist and political commentator David Marr, Professor David Rolph, and ABC Life’s Osman Faruqi (who sued outspoken politician Mark Latham for defamation in 2018).

Clockwise from top left: The festival’s popular bookshop; Behrouz Boochani, author of No Friend But The
Mountains
, speaking from Manus Island, receives a standing ovation; ABC presenter Annabel Crabb
plays‘Two Truths and a Lie’ with 7.30 anchor Leigh Sales, author and screenwriter Benjamin Law and
Wheeler Centre Director Michael Williams; SBS’s Janice Petersen talks to feminist writer and
broadcaster Clementine Ford and chef Adam Liaw about toxic masculinity; former Olympic swimmer
Casey Legler, the first woman to sign a male modelling contract, speaks about her memoir, Godspeed.

 

Clockwise from top left: The panel at ‘All your Faves are Problematic: Can We Cancel Art?’; author
Fatima Bhutto gives the festival’s closing address; Stan Grant speaks with George Megalogenis about
his book, Australia Day; author Alexander Chee and Lisa Lucas, Executive Director of the National Book
Foundation in the US; speakers at the ‘Dead Europe?’ session; an appreciative festival audience;
Houston-based author Bryan Washington reads from his debut novel, Lot.

 

Clockwise from top left: Academic Toby Walsh speaks with ABC Science’s Carl Smith about his book
2062 – The World that AI Made; festival-goers take time out between sessions; political journalist
Annabel Crabb and historians Clare Wright and Judith Brett discuss Australia’s little-known
suffragettes; a brief pause between sessions; Helen Pitt, author of Walkley Book Award winner The
House
, with Editor Group’s Grant Butler; book lovers enjoy the atmosphere of the festival’s venue,
Carriageworks. Centre: the festival’s main bookshop.

Photos: Prudence Upton and Jamie Williams.

Read more

Our top picks for the Sydney Writers’ Festival

 

 

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