What's on

Below are some of the talks our academics are participating in. From Donald Trump to Eileen Myles; sport to climate change; true crime writing to the future of the Chinese economy-University of Sydney expertise will be on full display, enhancing an array of subjects at this year’s Sydney Writers’ Festival.

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Lunchtime Sessions: Richard Denniss


Chief economist of the Australia Institute Richard Denniss defines affluenza as our modern compulsion to “spend money we don’t have to buy things we don’t need to impress people we don’t know”. His illuminating book Curing Affluenza outlines how we can combat an epidemic encouraged by those who profit from a culture of exploitation and waste. He explores the difference between consumerism - a love of buying things - and a sustainable form of materialism - the love of things themselves.

When: 1 May, 1pm – 2pm

Where: Coleman Greig Lawyers Parramatta

Academic: Associate Professor Pablo Guillen Alvarez

Book tickets

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Forest for the Trees: Writers and Publishing in 2018


Forest for the Trees is a one-day seminar that explores the state of writing and publishing in Australia. It brings together writers, publishers and industry representatives to discuss what is happening in 2018. The conversation will cover mainstream and independent publishing, as well as opportunities in the US market, book sales data and the challenges of navigating publishing deals. The day will end with a panel of industry experts shining some light on what the future holds.

When: 3 May, 10am – 4.30pm

Where: State library of NSW, Metcalfe Auditorium

Book tickets

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A Doubter’s Guide to Jesus


Founder of the world’s largest religion and subject of intense historical scrutiny, Jesus of Nazareth is not a tidy monolithic character, but a complex, multi-layered and sometimes contradictory figure. In his book A Doubter’s Guide to Jesus, Australian scholar John Dickson offers a compelling introduction to Jesus as he is portrayed in the earliest historical sources. In conversation with ABC’s Johanna Nicholson, he explores the ongoing investigation into the life and significance of Jesus for believers and doubters alike. Supported by Bible Society Australia.

When: 3 May, 10 – 11am

Where: Carriageworks

Academic: John Dickson

Book tickets

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Drawing the Line: The Ethics of True Crime Writing


How does a writer approach a true crime story? What responsibility do they have to the victims? Peter Doyle, author of City of Shadows and The Big Whatever, joins Kate Rossmanith, whose {Small Wrongs} investigates remorse in the justice system. In conversation with Rebecca Scott Bray, they delve into the process, ethics and experience of writing about true crime.

When: 3 May, 11.30am

Where: Carriageworks

Academic: Rebecca Scott Bray

Book tickets

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Immersive Histories


Historical narratives can create a powerful experience for the reader when grounded in evidence and embedded with a strong sense of place. Winners of the 2017 New South Wales Premier’s History Awards – Mark McKenna, Peter Hobbins and Adam Clulow – talk to Caroline Butler-Bowdon from Sydney Living Museums about how they immersed themselves in evidence and place to create rich and engaging narratives.

When: 3 May, 11.30am

Where: Carriageworks

Academic: Mark McKenna and Peter Hobbins

Book tickets

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Good Sports


More than just obsessed with sport, Australia measures its place in the world by its on-field triumphs. But what does our need to succeed say about us as a country? And how has the development of our sporting culture reflected broader changes in society? Join two of Australia’s most astute sport writers, David Hill (The Fair and the Foul) and Joe Gorman (The Death and Life of Australian Soccer), for a thought-provoking discussion about our enduring national obsession, in conversation with Jessica Richards.

When: 3 May, 4.30pm

Where: Seymour Centre, Sound Lounge

Academic: Jessica Richards

Book tickets

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Climate Change: A Hastening Catastrophe


TS Eliot wrote that the world would end “not with a bang but a whimper”. But according to climate scientists, our fate will be sealed by steadily rising temperatures and sea levels. Some of the Festival’s most distinguished guests come together for a panel about why climate inaction continues despite decades of research and how we can stem the hastening catastrophe. Join climate scientist Joëlle Gergis and authors Jeff Goodell and Tony Birch in conversation with David Schlosberg.

When: 4 May, 11.30am

Where: Seymour Centre, York Theatre

Academic: David Schlosberg

Book tickets

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The Future of China


Xi Jinping has become China’s most powerful leader since Mao Zedong. But with his consolidation of power, the country has become more authoritarian, with increasing censorship and arrests of lawyers and activists. Three Festival authors uniquely placed to discuss China sit down with Linda Jaivin to talk about its political, economic and cultural future. Join Minglu Chen, senior lecturer at the Chinese Studies Centre at the University of Sydney; Robert E. Kelly, a professor of political science at Pusan National University; and Xue Yiwei, a prolific Chinese-born novelist, for a riveting and timely discussion.

When: 4 May, 11.30am

Where: Carriageworks

Academic: Minglu Chen

Book tickets

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Trump’s New World Order


Alienating trusted allies, engaging in Twitter diplomacy and facing new global threats, Donald Trump has not only altered the course of US foreign policy but also disrupted the world order. ABC news presenter John Barron joins political-science experts Aaron Connelly, Gorana Grgic and Robert E. Kelly to analyse the repercussions of Trump’s presidency for Australia and the world. Aaron Connelly is a Research Fellow in the East Asia Program at the Lowy Institute, Gorana Grgic is a politics and foreign policy lecturer at the US Studies Centre, and Robert E. Kelly is a political science professor at Pusan National University.

When: 4 May, 4.30pm

Where: Seymour Centre, York Theatre

Academic: Gorana Grgic

Book tickets

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Eileen Myles: To Dig a Hole in Eternity


The electrifying work of poet, novelist and performer Eileen Myles has long subverted the literary and cultural status quo. With beginnings in the downtown New York poetry scene of the 1970s, their canon spans 20 books of poetry, prose and fiction, including the iconic 1994 queer novel Chelsea Girls and, most recently, the wrenching Afterglow (a dog memoir). Annamarie Jagose meets the revered writer who described their work as an attempt “to dig a hole in eternity” through language.

When: 4 May, 6pm

Where: Carriageworks

Academic: Annamarie Jagose

Book tickets

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The End of China’s Economic Miracle?


Some financial institutions have warned that a major financial crisis is almost twice as likely in China as anywhere else in the world. The warnings centre around concerns that the country’s notoriously high levels of debt and so-called shadow banking sector could trigger a crash. Don’t miss Professor Hans Hendrischke from the University of Sydney’s China Studies Centre, political science professor Robert E. Kelly and leading economist Richard Denniss in conversation with Richard McGregor about one of the most pressing economic matters of our time.

When: 6 May, 10am

Where: Seymour Centre, York Theatre

Academic: Hans Hendrischke

Book tickets