Sydney Writers' Festival announces 2014 program

4 April 2014

The University of Sydney is bringing bold and bright ideas to the 2014 Sydney Writers' Festival (SWF), with members of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences featuring right across this year's program.

The upcoming festival was unveiled last night down in Walsh Bay, where this homage to ideas will be held from 19-25th May. SWF Artistic Director Jemma Birrell announced some of the featured festival guests such as Alice Walker, Amy Tan, Gary Shteyngart and Irvine Welsh to a room of publishers, sponsors, writers and journalists.

The University of Sydney is an official sponsor of SWF for the third year running and is thrilled to support the visit to Australia of Adam Johnson, the 2013 Pulitzer Prize winning author of An Orphan Master's Son.

Johnson's stunning novel tells of corruption and casual cruelty in North Korea, where protagonist Pak Jun Do journeys through icy waters, dark tunnels and eerie spy chambers to find camaraderie, and stolen moments of beauty and love. His conversation with Julian Morrow is bound to be a 2014 highlight.

The University of Sydney is also proud to support an event with author and journalist, Tara Moss, who will launch her new book The Fictional Woman at the festival. Part memoir, part feminist essay, The Fictional Woman explores what it means to be a woman in the modern world. Moss, who is currently undertaking a Doctorate of Social Sciences at the University of Sydney, will discuss feminism and fiction with alumna Julia Baird.

Shiela Fitzpatrick, an Honorary Professor in the Department of History, will detail her experiences as a doctoral candidate in Russia in the early 1960s. A Spy in the Archives, titled after Fitzpatrick's book of the same name, will explore a period when few foreigners were permitted in Russia and Fitzpatrick herself was under surveillance by the KGB.

Bringing history closer to home, Professor Iain McCalman will take a fresh look at the Great Barrier Reef. Off the back of his latest book, The Reef: A Passionate History McCalman gives a sweeping and insightful view of the Reef. He will be speaking at The University of Sydney's Macleay Museum.

Dr Lucia Sorbera of the School of Languages and Culture will join Yasmine El Rashidi and Karima Bennoune to discuss the Middle East in the event The Arab Autumn.

The festival has introduced a new Curiosity Lecture Series featuring discussions on philosophy. Professor David Braddon-Mitchell will explore the Philosophy of Love, while Dr Luke Russell will cast an equally astute eye over the Philosophy of Evil. Meanwhile, Dr Dalia Nassar and Associate Professor Kristie Millerwill gauge and vouch for the value of philosophy in contemporary society.

Turning The Tide returns again in 2014 to celebrate Indigenous literature and culture. Ali Cobby Eckermann is Artist-in-Residence at the Faculty of Education and Social Work and a celebrated poet and voice for the Stolen Generation. Eckermann will explore the history and implications of the Northern Territory intervention alongside Henry Reynolds.

Judith Beveridge of the Department of English joins fellow poets John Mateer and Luke Fischer to discuss their work in a panel discussion interspersed with live classical music. Beveridge will also join Ali Alizadeh, Kate Middleton and John Mateer to discuss real and imagined worlds.

Emeritus Professor Rodney Tiffen of the Department of Government and International Relations will join journalists Paul Barry and Monica Attard to discuss Rupert Murdoch's wide reach and issues of media integrity.

Natalie Costa Bir, Digital Producer at the University of Sydney, will facilitate an in-depth discussion of authors' growing roles in the publishing process. Forest for the Trees: Pushing Your Own Cart will also feature established writer Kate Forsyth, debut novelist Kirsten Krauth and self-published author Darrell Pitt.

Alongside university staff, a large number of university alumni feature in the program, such as David Marr, Michael Kirby, Julia Baird, Anne Summers, Peter FitzSimons, and many more.

For further information, visit the University's SWF website, which will be a hive of activity during the festival. It will feature daily session reviews, author interviews, news and social media feeds, to keep you across our involvement in this premier cultural event.

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