What's on

Our people – our researchers, students, alumni and staff – use the knowledge and skills they have gained at the University to change lives in Australia and around the world. These stories capture some of their journeys, discoveries and innovations.

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International Author: Julian Baggini

Join renowned philosopher and author, Julian Baggini, in a revealing conversation about free will. The founder of The Philosophers’ Magazine, Julian is most well known for his best-sellers The Pig That Wants To Be Eaten and The Ego Trick. This conversation will focus on the importance of personal freedom in today’s world

Features: Julian Baggini
When: Thursday 19 May, 6.30-8.30pm
Where: New Law School Building (F10), Sydney Law School, University of Sydney, Eastern Avenue, Camperdown Campus, University of Sydney
For more info..

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Matthew Condon: How Murderers and Criminal Pond Scum Changed My Life

True crime writer and journalist Matthew Condon reflects on a chance meeting over six years ago with corrupt former Queensland police commissioner Terry Lewis, which led him down the dark rabbit hole of his state’s criminal underbelly.

Facilitator: Sahar Amer
When: Saturday 21 May, 10-10.40am
Where: Pier 2/3 Curiosity Stage
For more info..

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Paul Muldoon: On Seamus Heaney

Paul Muldoon selects his favourite excerpts from the poet’s large body of work and speaks from the heart about what made his late friend one of the most moving and important voices of our time.

Facilitator: Sahar Amer
When: Saturday 21 May, 11-11.40am
Where: Pier 2/3 Curiosity Stage
For more info..

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Emma Sky: High Hopes and Missed Opportunities in Iraq

It’s not every day a female, civilian, pacifist, liberal Brit becomes chief advisor to the US military in the combat zones of Iraq. The result of Emma Sky’s unique experiences is The Unravelling.

Facilitator: James Brown
When: Thursday 19 May, 1.30-2.30pm
Where: Roslyn Packer Theatre
For more info..

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The Reality of War: Reconciling Two Worlds

What’s it like to be in a war? James Brown facilitates a panel of seasoned veterans and writers to discuss the myth, media and reality of conflict, and the challenges of re-entry into civilian life.

Facilitator: James Brown
When: Friday 20 May, 3-4pm
Where: Sydney Dance 1
For more info..

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China: Writers Talk Politics

In this session on China, writer and intellectual Xu Zhiyuan, novelist Ye Xin and China Studies lecturer Dr Minglu Chen lift the lid on the challenges facing contemporary China, from censorship to the fallout from the one-child policy.

Facilitator: Minglu Chen
When: Friday 20 May, 1.30-2.30pm
Where: Sydney Dance 1
For more info..

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Antonia Hayes: A Universe of One’s Own

When Virginia Woolf wrote A Room of One’s Own in 1929, she hoped that in 100 years women writers would have all the same opportunities as male writers. While much has changed for women writers over the last century, they’re still not given equal voice, equal reading or equal authority.

Facilitator: Peter Chen
When: Sunday 22 May, 10-10.40am
Where: Pier 2/3 Curiosity Stage
For more info..

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Gail Jones: Spiral Time, Biscuit Tins, Butterflies: How Nabokov Enlivens Us

A permanent exile from his home in Russia, Vladimir Nabokov constructed a radiant and vital world of imagination. That world is idiosyncratic, original and intrinsically engaging, full of weird excitements and tender attention to inconspicuous things.

Facilitator: Peter Chen
When: Sunday 22 May, 10-10.40am
Where: Pier 2/3 Curiosity Stage
For more info..

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Andrew Hunter and Hal Crawford: The Facebook Times

Social networks don’t do news the old-fashioned way. Because people share certain types of stories, Facebook, in particular, has become a very different kind of front page.

Facilitator: Peter Chen
When: Sunday 22 May, 12-12.40pm
Where: Pier 2/3 Curiosity Stage
For more info..

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Mick Turner and Peggy Frew: Living, Dreaming, Making

Life partners and creative co-conspirators Peggy Frew and Mick Turner come together in this special event to play a couple of songs and chat candidly to Anwen Crawford about the intersections of art, writing, intimacy, music and imaginative pursuits their in uniquely creative household.

Facilitator: Anwen Crawford
When: Thursday 19 May, 6-7pm
Where: Pier 2/3 Club Stage
For more info..

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A Life in Words

Auden once said, ‘poetry makes nothing happen’, and yet for the poet, words are the fuel that drives life forward. Award-winning poets Geoffrey Lehmann and Kate Lilley have spent their lives in thrall to the patterns of rhythm, rhyme, diction and meter.

Features: Kate Lilley
When: Saturday 21 May, 3-4pm
Where: Philharmonia Studio
For more info..

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Mysterious Ways: Poetry and Publishing

Some poets tinker with words for the Macquarie Dictionary or work in an assortment of odd jobs, and some become the lifeblood of poetry communities across Australia, working not just as poets but as publishers, editors, academics or all of the above.

Features: Kate Lilley
When: Sunday 22 May, 3-4pm
Where: Philharmonia Studio
For more info..

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Megan Mackenzie: Do Women Belong on the Frontline?

In this talk, Megan MacKenzie explores these questions and myths about female soldiers, including those about physical standards, and chivalry, as well as the impact of motherhood on women’s ability to fight.

Features: Megan Mackenzie
Facilitator Sahar Amer
When: Saturday 21 May, 12-12.40pm
Where: Pier 2/3 Curiosity Stage
For more info..

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Adam Ford: My Life in Ruins

A life lived uncovering the past means many hours on your stomach with your head in a trench, but also time travelling through some of the world’s most fascinating locations.

Facilitator: Richard Miles
When: Thursday 19 May, 1.30-2.30pm
Where: Wharf 2 Theatre
For more info..

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Peter Frankopan: The Silk Roads

Oxford scholar and author Peter Frankopan has rewritten the history of the world from the ancient Eastern perspective of The Silk Roads. As the power of the East re-emerges, Peter Frankopan helps us appreciate the forces that are pulling us towards Asia.

Facilitator: Richard Miles
When: Thursday 19 May, 4.30-5.30pm
Where: Roslyn Packer Theatre
For more info..

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The Dr Dark Memorial Lecture: Good News, Bad News

In the 2016 Dr Dark Memorial Lecture, international award-winning investigative journalist Andrew Fowler (The War on Journalism and The Most Dangerous Man in the World) interrogates the current state of the media, the rise of ‘thin journalism’ and its implications for democratic society.

Facilitator: Peter Minter
When: Monday 16 May, 6-7pm
Where: Carrington Hotel, Katoomba
For more info..

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AVANT GAGA

Following its ongoing success as the monthly poetry night at Sappho Books in Glebe, AVANT GAGA is coming to the Sydney Writers’ Festival.

Features: Peter Minter
When: Saturday 21 May, 5.30-7pm
Where: Sydney Dance Lounge
For more info..

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The Danger of Ideas

Marie Darrieussecq, writer for Charlie Hebdo, author Tara Moss (Speaking Out) and Race Discriminination Commissioner Tim Soutphommasane talk with Susie Orbach about what you can and can’t say and what you should say anyway.

Features: Tara Moss
When: Thursday 19 May, 4.30-5.30pm
Where: Pier 2/3 The Loft
For more info..

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Book Launch: Speaking Out by Tara Moss

Join Tara Moss to celebrate the publication of her new book, Speaking Out, a twenty first century handbook for women and girls. Tara’s new book reminds us why it is more important than ever for women and girls to have their voices heard.

Features: Tara Moss
When: Friday 20 May, 6-8pm
Where: Pier 2/3 The Hemingway Bar
For more info..

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Ladies Online

There are perils and privileges that come with having an intimate and co-dependent relationship with the online world. Join Tara Moss, whose new book Speaking Out is a 21st century handbook for women and girls.

Features: Tara Moss
When: Sunday 22 May, 4.30-5.30pm
Where: Pier 2/3 The Loft
For more info..

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Tim Griffiths: Frank Hurley, Shackleton and the End of the Heroic Age

World famous photographer Frank Hurley was the official photographer on Ernest Shackleton’s Imperial Trans-Antartic Expedition and his images have endured, offering a startling record of a time that no longer exists. Tim Griffiths tells the epic tale.

Facilitator: Dalia Nassar
When: Thursday 19 May, 10-10.40am
Where: Pier 2/3 Curiosity Stage
For more info..

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Jean-François Vernay: A French View on Australian Novels

When the original French edition of A Brief Take on the Australian Novel came out in 2009, Simon Caterson from The Age titled his book review ‘French Take on the Australian Novel’ arguing that ‘only an outsider can fully appreciate the big cultural picture’.

Facilitator: Dalia Nassar
When: Thursday 19 May, 11-11.40am
Where: Pier 2/3 Curiosity Stage
For more info..

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Catriona Menzies-Pike: Why I’ve Lost Every Marathon I’ve Ever

People often think Marathon runners were born great athletes. But no one was more surprised than the clumsy Catriona Menzies-Pike by her conversion to long-distance running. She has run many marathons, but they’ve all been very slow.

Facilitator: Dalia Nassar
When: Thursday 19 May, 12-12.40pm
Where: Pier 2/3 Curiosity Stage
For more info..

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Christopher Neff: The Shark ‘Attack’ Myth

Drawing on his research in the United States, South Africa and Australia, Dr Christopher Neff explains why shark bites enrapture the attention of politicians and the public – and what this tells us about the wider world of public policy.

Features: Christopher Neff
When: Friday 20 may, 1.30-12.10pm
Where: Pier 2/3 Curiosity Stage
For more info..

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Our Food History: In Black and White

Jacqui Newling’s new book, Eat Your History, digs into the vegetable gardens of the past to rediscover forgotten tastes from experimental colonial kitchens.

Features: Jacqui Newling
When: Sunday 22 May, 1.30-2.30pm
Where: Philharmonia Studio
For more info..

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Marc Fennell: Why Pinocchio was a Sociopath and Adventures in Walt Disney

Marc Fennell, Triple J and SBS’s movie guru and author of Planet According to The Movies takes you on a demented, twisted journey through the history of the House of Mouse to learn things you never knew about all things Disney.

Facilitator: Aaron Nyerges
When: Saturday 21 May, 1.30-2.10pm
Where: Pier 2/3 Curiosity Stage
For more info..

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Robert Manne: Who Created ISIS? The Roles of George W Bush and al Zarqawi

Author and commentator Robert Manne discusses the roles of George W Bush and al Zarqawi in the creation of ISIS.

Facilitator: Aaron Nyerges
When: Saturday 21 May, 2.30-3.10pm
Where: Pier 2/3 Curiosity Stage
For more info..

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Janna Levin: What’s New in Cosmology

In her work as a writer, astrophysicist and professor of physics and astronomy at Barnard College of Colombia University, Janna Levin asks the big questions in cosmology.

Facilitator: Aaron Nyerges
When: Saturday 21 May, 3.30-4.10pm
Where: Pier 2/3 Curiosity Stage
For more info..

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T.L. Uglow: On Doubt - from Montaigne to Minchin

T.L. Uglow looks at how writers across the ages have tackled the indecision and uncertainty in the engine room of humankind.

Facilitator: Aaron Nyerges
When: Saturday 21 May, 4.30-5.10pm
Where: Pier 2/3 Curiosity Stage
For more info..

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Anna Broinowski: Kim Jong II and the Art of Propaganda

Filmmaker and author Anna Broinowski takes us on an immersive and revealing journey inside one of the most secretive and powerful propaganda machines on the planet.

Facilitator: Juanita Ruys
When: Sunday 22 May, 1.30-2.10pm
Where: Pier 2/3 Curiosity Stage
For more info..

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David Dyer: Titanic and the Suffragettes

In this talk, historical novelist David Dyer explores the implications of the sinking of the Titanic for the suffragette movement of the early 20th century.

Facilitator: Juanita Ruys
When: Sunday 22 May, 2.30-3.10pm
Where: Pier 2/3 Curiosity Stage
For more info..

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Lucinda Holdforth: On the Aaron Sorkin Effect

Lucinda Holdforth shares what Aaron Sorkin, the master screenwriter behind the hit series The West Wing and many others, has taught her about citizenship, the sex appeal of too- many-words, and the power of art to summon the future.

Facilitator: Juanita Ruys
When: Sunday 22 May, 3.30-4.10pm
Where: Pier 2/3 Curiosity Stage
For more info..

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Michael Robotham: The Psychology of Obsession

Award-winning crime writer Michael Robotham talks about the psychology of obsession and reveals that he is CDO, which he says is a little like OCD except all the letters are in alphabetical order.

Facilitator: Juanita Ruys
When: Sunday 22 May, 4.30-5.10pm
Where: Pier 2/3 Curiosity Stage
For more info..

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A Love Affair with Shakespeare

In this year of commemoration, the State Library of New South Wales brings together an actor, student, academic and passionate director to discuss the ups and downs that come with loving the Bard.

Features: Liam Semler
When: Wednesday 18 May, 6-7pm
Where: State Library of NSW, Metclafe Auditorium
For more info..

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Frank Bongiorno: Why We Can’t Get Over the Eighties

Frank Bongiorno, author of The Eighties: The Decade That Transformed Australia, takes us on a tour of the decade that gave us the America’s Cup, Crocodile Dundee and the Bicentenary, as well as big hair, leg-warmers and synthesised pop.

Facilitator: Glenda Sluga
When: Thursday 19 May, 4.30-5.10pm
Where: Pier 2/3 Curiosity Stage
For more info..

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America: Writers Talk Politics

Take a fresh look at some of the most pressing issues facing the world today in this thought-provoking series. Each session focuses on a different country with the writers who know its terrain intimatel.

Features: David Smith
When: Saturday 21 May, 4.30-5.30pm
Where: Roslyn Packer Theatre Stage
For more info..

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Janna Levin: Black Hole Blues and Other Songs from Outer Space (aka the recent discovery of gravitational waves)

Janna joins Adam Spencer to share the juicy details of all things astrophysical.

Facilitator: Adam Spencer
When: Thursday 19 May, 6-7pm
Where: Roslyn Packer Theatre
For more info..

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Night of the Nerds

Pull up those trousers and readjust your spectacles, the night of nights for the nerd community is back and more outrageously educational than ever.

Facilitator: Adam Spencer
When: Thursday 19 May, 8-9.30pm
Where: Roslyn Packer Theatre
For more info..

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Beth Yahp: Eat First, Talk Later

When Beth Yahp convinces her ageing Malaysian parents to revisit their honeymoon trail 45 years after the event, little does she know the trial of love, family and nationhood that will unfold.

Features: Beth Yahp
When: Monday 16 May, 6.30-7.30pm
Where: Blacktown City Max Webber Library
For more info..

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Going Home: Belonging, Family and Food

Beth Yahp talks to Joy Lawn about existing in between two worlds, and writing about the complicated relationship between heritage, family and home.

Features: Beth Yahp
When: Thursday 19 May, 11.30-12.30pm
Where: Philharmonia Studio
For more info..

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Beth Yahp: On Eating Dim Sum

The stories behind yum cha range from a Chinese general’s gratitude to a warning for chefs, but for Beth Yahp this meal promises mouthfuls of memory, in bite sizes.

Features: Beth Yahp
Facilitator: Glenda Sluga
When: Thursday 19 May, 3.30-4.10pm
Where: Pier 2/3 Curiosity Stage
For more info..

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Yanis Varoufakis:The End of Europe?

In recent years, Europe has been rocked by crises. Sovereign debt, mass migration and homegrown terrorism are just three of the threats facing the region.

Features: Yanis Varoufakis
When: Friday 20 May 8:30pm - 9:45pm
Where: City Recital Hall , 2-12 Angel Place, Sydney
For more info..

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Yanis Varoufakis: And the Weak Suffer What They Must?

A brilliant thinker and incredibly charismatic speaker, Yanis Varoufakis discusses his new book, And the Weak Suffer What They Must?.

Features: Yanis Varoufakis
When: Saturday 21 May 5:00pm - 6:00pm
Where: City Recital Hall , 2-12 Angel Place, Sydney
For more info..

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Julian Baggini: Free Will

Join Julian for a fascinating and provocative talk ranging across philosophy, sociology and cognitive science, to find answers to the questions that have animated thinkers for centuries.

Features: Julian Baggini
When: Sunday 22 May, 10-11am
Where: Pier 2/3 Main Stage
For more info..

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A Little Life: An Evening with Hanya Yanagihara

Join the United States Studies Centre for an in-depth and interactive discussion with Hanya Yanagihara about her award-winning book A Little Life and the inspiration behind it. Supported by the United States Studies Centre.

Features: Hanya Yanagihara
When: Wednesday 18 May, 6-7.15pm
Where: Charles Perkins Centre lecture theatre, University of Sydney
For more info..