Sydney Writers’ Festival returns this month to Walsh Bay and surrounds from May 16- 22.nd This year the theme ‘Bibliotherapy’ will explore literature’s restorative effects in terms of mental health, improved relationships and the ability to empathise.
As always the festival will bring together some of the world’s top writers and influential people, described this year by organisers as; “a week-long extravaganza of ideas and literature”.
As for festival updates in the Walsh Bay precinct, SWF is expanding to Pier 5 with a new venue at the end of the wharf called ‘The Waterfront’ and on the last day of programmed events (Sunday 22nd) the Childrens’ Precinct will incorporate Bangarra’s and Sydney Dance studios and the Pier 5 apron as well as the SWF Library. ‘Russ The Bus,’ will also be parked outside the Shore Shed’s over this final weekend.
During the week-long festivities Walsh Bay art gallery, Vermilion, will feature the first national solo exhibition for leading Chinese artist, Cang Xin – well worth a look if around the precinct and you find yourself with any free time between programmed events. And when it comes to satisfying the hungry masses, Simmer on the Bay has it covered. Offering scrumptious café breakfast and lunch menus as well as a long list of delicious, in-house baked cake and slices throughout SWF- including chef Brigid Kennedy’s famous Picnic Bar Slice - made exclusively during Sydney Writers’ Festival. Pier One’s Gantry Bar and Restaurant will also offer a quality lunch menu while inside the hotel an in-house art installation by talented street artist, Kelsey Montague promises to stop traffic.
In general SWF boasts a record number of international authors along with strong local guests - all of who will bring their own unique brand of wisdom, knowledge and creativeness to the event.
A selection of 2016 program highlights include:
- Award-winning poet and critically acclaimed performer and novelist, Kate Tempest will open the festival by reciting a selection of her poems and talking about how the stories we choose define us as well as open the discussion on literature as one of the greatest teachers of empathy and how empathy must be the motor for change.
- Critically acclaimed fiction writer Jonathan Frazen speaks with Anna Funder about Purity - a satirical portrait of relationships and family dysfunction. Jonathan will also host a separate session on his own wide and varied reading life.
- Writer, activist and revolutionary feminist, Gloria Steinem talks to Jennifer Byrne about the personal encounters that have shaped her. In Australia for the first time since the 1980s, Gloria shares her moving and profound story, as told in her memoir, My Life on the Road. She will also head up another session in Walsh Bay on why women are well placed to rule the world.
- Marlon James, the first Jamaican-born author to win the Man Booker Prize (2015) for his novel, A Brief History of Seven Killings, talks to ABC RN’s Michael Cathcart about book’s plot - the attempted assassination of Bob Marley. Marlon will also participate in the SWF Gala to discuss the book that saved him.
- Past Man Booker winner, Julian Barnes, speaks about The Noise of Time, his latest work fictionalising the life of Russian composer Dmitri Shostakovich. While renowned British novelist, William Boyd (Good Man in Africa, Brazzaville Beach, Any Human Heart and Restless) discusses his new book, Sweet Caress and shares screenwriting expertise in an exclusive masterclass. For the full SWF program head to http://www.swf.org.au