University events revealed in Sydney Writers' Festival program

30 March 2012

The University is co-sponsoring events at the 2012 Sydney Writer's Festival.
The University is co-sponsoring events at the 2012 Sydney Writer's Festival.

The University's Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences will collaborate with the 2012 Sydney Writers' Festival as part of a dynamic new partnership to create a range of panel-led discussions and workshops with leading authors and researchers.

From discussions on torture and the US Presidential election to poetry readings in the Jenolan caves, the University of Sydney's feature events will tap the extraordinary expertise of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences and highlight important social and political issues.

Leading the Faculty's involvement will be the hosting of two events, double-billed in the University of Sydney's Great Hall, which will deal with Indigenous literature and literacy, and the Occupy protests that began on Wall Street last year.

In the Indigenous literature and literacy session, Dr Peter Minter, the coordinator of the Indigenous Australian Studies major, will be chairing a special Faculty of Education and Social Work event, titled "Turning the Tide", where leading Indigenous writers - Lionel Fogarty, Ali Cobby Eckermann and Larissa Behrendt - will discuss the role of Indigenous women in Australian writing, and talk about how literature can play a part in education and literacy for different communities.

The Occupy session will involve a panel discussion on the future of this controversial movement, including how writers can engage with it.

Panelists from the University of Sydney will be democracy expert Professor John Keane, and Professor Simon Tormey (School of Social and Political Sciences). They will be joined in the discussion by Loretta Napoleoni, the prominent Italian journalist and Chad Harbach, an author and Executive Editor of n+1 journal.

Another feature event will be a conversation with former CIA interrogator Glenn Carle about the practice of torture in liberal democratic states. Carle finds the perfect in-conversation partner in Associate Professor Danielle Celermajer, whose work in the Department of Sociology and Social Policy includes a European Union-funded program exploring torture prevention in Sri Lanka and Nepal.

Continuing the international theme, Dr David Smith from the United States Studies Centre and the School of Social and Political Sciences, will take part in a panel discussion on the 2012 US Presidential election. His expertise in the field of religious involvement in government will be offset by former Washington Post and journalist Annie Groer, as well as Joe McGinniss, New York Times bestselling author of The Rogue, a biography of Sarah Palin that has been credited by some as putting an end to her campaign for Vice President.

Another date that should be marked in diaries is May 13 when the poet and author, Associate Professor David Brooks, will join forces with other Australian poets David Malouf, Mark Tredinnick, Ali Cobby Eckermann and Judith Beveridge to deliver a poetry reading in the Cathedral Cave at the Jenolan Caves.

Associate Professor Brooks will also deliver a discussion on the nature of poetry and puzzles in the Ern Malley Hoax, and how his work critically reappraises the hoax in the light of French satire from the 19th century.

The versatile Brooks will then hold two workshops during the festival, to which participants can bring their own writing. One workshop will focus on prose fiction, and the other on poetry.

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