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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Being a Historian in the Digital Age

Hear historians Nick Brodie, Tom Griffiths and Mark McKenna talk to Jürgen Tampke about how history is changing with the times.

When: Thursday 25 May, 10am
Where: Philharmonia Studio
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Why Your Wrong to Care About Grammar

‘Proper’ Australian English is under assault. Textspeak and encroaching Americanisms suggest young Aussies have little regard for the rules. Or do they? As young people shrug off the classist shroud of ‘good grammar’, they’re far more likely to care about not causing offence than being correct. Join facilitator professor of linguistics, Nick Enfield, writer Stephen Dando-Collins, journalist and linguist Christine Kenneally, and the ABC’s language researcher, Tiger Webb, as they ask whether the fixation on respectful language is just a passing fad.

When: Thursday 25 May, 11.30am
Where: Roslyn Packer Theatre
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Chris Rodley: On How To Build a Novel-Writing Machine

Chris Rodley – whose projects include the story generator @MagicRealismBot and a novel that writes itself using social media content – explores what the rise of artificial intelligence means for the future of literature.

When:Thursday 25 May, 12pm
Where: Pier 2/3 Curiosity Stage
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Mark McKenna: On Music and Writing

For historian Mark McKenna (From the Edge: Australia’s Lost Histories) music and writing are intimately connected. In this lecture, Mark explores the relationship between music and the literary imagination.

When:Thursday 25 May, 1.30pm
Where: Pier 2/3 Curiosity Stage
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Things You Need To Know and May Have Missed

In conversation with host Mark McKenna, Nick Brodie, David Hunt, Bruce Pascoe and Jürgen Tampke blow the dust off the history books to share little-known stories and surprising perspectives. You’re guaranteed to learn something new.

When: Thursday 25 May, 4.30pm
Where: Sydney Dance 2
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Sydney Ideas – Susan Faludi in conversation

Susan Faludi is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and the author of the bestselling Backlash: The Undeclared War Against American Women, which won the National Book Critics Circle Award for Nonfiction, Stiffed: The Betrayal of the American Man, and The Terror Dream: Myth and Misogyny in an Insecure America, a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award for Criticism.

When: Thursday 25 May, 6.30pm
Where: Abercrombie Business School LT 10130, Cnr Codrington St and Abercrombie St, the University of Sydney
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Culture Capital

Established and emerging writers discuss the ongoing national conversation about the viability of art as a living. Beth Yahp talks to Briohny Doyle, Frank Moorhouse and Fiona Wright.

When: Friday 26 May, 11.30am
Where: Sydney Dance 1
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Caroline Baum: Only

Only is Caroline Baum’s fascinating and moving memoir about being an only child in a very unusual family. As well as sharing the story of her unconventional childhood, Caroline explores what it means to be the daughter of people damaged by trauma and tragedy. Secrets are revealed and differences are settled in what Elizabeth Gilbert describes as ‘An unflinchingly honest exploration of what it takes to be a good daughter, with a heartmelting scoop of ice cream’.

When: Friday 26 May, 1pm
Where: Pier 2/3 Club Stage
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Close to Home: The Work of Georgia Blain

Georgia Blain was a novelist, short story writer and essayist of exceptional honesty and talent, who died too young in 2016. She was also a beloved friend who is sorely missed. In celebration of Blain’s literary acuity, compassion and sharp sense of humour, her friends and fellow writers, Tegan Bennett Daylight, James Bradley and Charlotte Wood, read from her fiction and non-fiction work.

When: Friday 26 May, 3pm
Where: Sydney Dance 2
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Hell and High Water

Dr Karl Kruszelnicki and Tim Flannery join Nick Rowley for a thought-provoking discussion on the likely effects of climate change.

When: Friday 26 May, 3pm
Where: Wharf 2 Theatre
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Susan Faludi: In the Darkroom

Pulitzer Prize-winning author Susan Faludi first came to international prominence with her classic feminist text Backlash. She joins Sofija Stefanovic for an intimate conversation about her unforgettable new memoir, In the Darkroom.

When: Friday 26 May, 3pm
Where: Ros Packer Theatre
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Rob Schmitz: Street of Eternal Happiness

Catch NPR’s Shanghai correspondent Rob Schmitz talking to Luigi Tomba about his evocative new book Street of Eternal Happiness, which examines the lives of people living on a single street in China’s most exciting city.

When: Friday 26 May, 4.30pm
Where: Ros Packer Theatre
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Gay for Page

Eamon Flack welcomes some of the Festival’s most distinguished guests in a not-to-be-missed discussion about queer literary heroes. The line-up includes Patrick Abboud, Ivan Coyote, Anton Enus, Michael Farrell, Melissa Hardie, C.S. Pacat and Alison Whittaker.

When: Friday 26 May, 8pm
Where: Pier 2/3 Club Stage
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Juanita Ruys on the Devil’s Coach House

Bushrangers, cattle duffers, runaway convicts—the Devil himself. There are many competing stories for how the Devil’s Coach House in the Jenolan Caves west of Sydney came by its diabolic name. The Blue Mountains were characterised by early European explorers and settlers as a medieval landscape, a place redolent of Dante’s Inferno. But are the ghost stories told of the Devil's Coach House only a screen for a truth that is far more disturbing than the demonic could ever be?

When: Saturday 27 May, 10am
Where: Pier 2/3 Curiosity Stage
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How Deep Can You Go?

How close does a journalist need to get to the story? How do they separate the personal and professional? Join Madeline Gleeson, Christine Kenneally and Caro Meldrum-Hanna as they speak with Rebecca Johinke.

When: Saturday 27 May, 1.30pm
Where: Pier 2/3 Club Stage
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Dreams of Her Real Self: Writers on Helen Garner

Both celebrated and controversial, Helen Garner’s 40-year career has been distinguished by a trademark candidness. Garner fans Bernadette Brennan, Annabel Crabb, Benjamin Law and Fiona McFarlane speak to Rebecca Giggs about her influence.

When: Sunday 28 May, 11.30am
Where: Ros Packer Theatre
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Food and Water: Fundamentals for living

Experts consider the fundamentals: food and water. Tess Lea talks to Chin Jou (Supersizing America: How Inner Cities Got Fast Food with Government Help), Astrida Neimanis (Thinking with Water), Elspeth Probyn (Eating the Ocean) and Beth Yahp (Eat First, Talk Later).

When: Sunday 28 May, 1.30pm
Where: Philharmonia Studio
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Bernadette Brennan: Writing Helen Garner

Bernadette Brennan has completed the first fulllength study of Helen Garner’s career in A Writing Life. Bernadette talks to Susan Wyndham about what is left to explore that Helen Garner hasn’t already shared about herself.

When: Sunday 28 May, 1.30pm
Where: Pier 2/3 Club Stage
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Lingo: What is Lost When a Language Dies?

Globally, a language is lost every two weeks, and the Australian Human Rights Commission says more than 90 per cent of Australia’s Indigenous languages are critically endangered. Nick Enfield talks with Russ, host of ABC RN’s Awaye! Daniel Browning and Durag language teacher Joel Davison, about dying languages.

When: Sunday 28 May, 4.30pm
Where: Philharmonia Studio
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Ali Cobby Eckermann: Little Bit Long Time

This year, Yankunytjatjara/Kokatha poet Ali Cobby Eckermann won the prestigious international Windham- Campbell Prize, worth $215,000. Ali talks to Peter Minter about her work, her art and the changes that global recognition brings.

When: Sunday 28 May, 4.30pm
Where: Pier 2/3 Club Stage
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Olivia Murphy: On the Problem with Jane Austen

This year marks 200 years since the death of Jane Austen. Romantics scholar Olivia Murphy (Jane Austen the Reader), shares some of her latest insights into Austen’s closest influences.

When: Sunday 28 May, 4.45pm
Where: Pier 2/3 Curiosity Stage
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