Sydney Writers Festival

We are passionate about electrifying debate on today’s biggest issues.

That’s why the University of Sydney is proud to bring exciting thinkers and writers to the public stage in a continued collaboration with the Sydney Writers’ Festival in 2014. Learn about our speakers and thought-leaders and join us as we celebrate the best of Australian and international writing, from May 19 to 25.

It’s thinking season, so let our ideas tantalize your literary senses and inspire your creativity.

James Wood and Susan Wyndham

There was a literary journey to Afghanistan, extraordinary stories of migration and a lesson from the New Yorker’s literary critic about how drumming and book reviewing share similar beats. The University of Sydney enriched and enlightened the 2013 Sydney Writers’ Festival program.

Celebrating The Fictional Woman

Join Tara Moss and friends in a celebration of her new book The Fictional Woman, including a conversation between Tara and journalist Julia Baird, with music by DJ Sveta. (18+ event).

The Orphan Master’s Son

In his epic, Pulitzer Prize-winning novel set in North Korea, Adam Johnson portrays a world rife with corruption and cruelty, which is also a story of camaraderie and love. He speaks to Julian Morrow.


Our experts

Adam Johnson


Adam Johnson is the author of The Orphan Master’s Son, which won the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. A recipient of the Whiting Writers' Award, his work has appeared in Esquire, Harper's, The Paris Review, Playboy, Tin House and The Best American Short Stories.

Tara Moss


Born in Victoria, BC, Canada, Tara Moss is an internationally bestselling novelist, journalist, award-winning short story writer, UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, patron for breastfeeding for the Baby Friendly Health Initiative, and former top model. Tara is currently completing her Doctor of Social Sciences at the University of Sydney.

David Braddon-Mitchell

Professor David Braddon-Mitchell is a Senior Lecturer in Philosophy at the University of Sydney. His work focuses on the Philosophy of the Mind and metaphysics, and sometimes touches on philosophies of science, biology, ethics and politics.

Johanna Featherstone

Johanna Featherstone established The Red Room Company in 2003, and is its current Artistic Director. Her poetry has featured in literary magazines and journals and she is an Honorary Associate of The University of Sydney's School of Letters Arts and Media.

Sheila Fitzpatrick

Sheila Fitzpatrick is an Honorary Professor in the Department of History at the University of Sydney, and the Bernadotte E. Schmitt Distinguished Service Professor in Modern Russian History at the University of Chicago. In the early 1970s, Sheila moved from Britain to the United States where she made her career as a Soviet historian.

Mabel Lee

Mabel Lee is Adjunct Professor of Chinese Studies at the University of Sydney and has had a 34-year teaching and research career in 20th century Chinese intellectual history and literature.

Iain McCalman

Ian McCalman is a Research Professor in the Department of History at the University of Sydney and co-Director of the Sydney Environment Institute. His last book, Darwin’s Armada (Penguin, 2009) won three prizes and was the basis of the TV series, Darwin’s Brave New World.

Kristie Miller

Associate Professor Kristie Miller is joint director of the Centre for Time at the University of Sydney and a senior ARC research fellow in the department of philosophy. Her research focusses primarily on metaphysics, and she is particularly interested in the metaphysics of space, time, and objects therein.

Dalia Nassar

Dr Dalia Nassar is an ARC-DECRA researcher in the philosophy department at the University of Sydney, and will commence as lecturer in the department in January 2015. She was previously assistant professor of philosophy at Villanova University, USA.

Luke Russell

Dr Luke Russell is a Senior Lecturer in Philosophy at the University of Sydney. He works in the domain of moral philosophy, and has written on the nature of evil, forgiveness, virtue and vice.

Luke Slattery

Luke Slattery is a Sydney-based journalist and editor. He has served as higher education editor at The Australian, The Age and the Financial Review. Luke is an Honorary Associate of the University of Sydney's Department of Classics and Ancient History.

Lucia Sorbera

Lucia Sorbera is Lecturer in Arabic, Islamic, and Middle East Studies at the University of Sydney. Her research focuses on Egyptian cultural and political history, gender and women history, and Arabic literature.

Natalie Costa Bir

Natalie Costa Bir

Natalie Costa Bir is a digital producer in the Marketing and Communications department of the University of Sydney. She also runs ebook workshops for editors with the Australian Publishers Association.