University events unveiled in 2013 Sydney Writers' Festival Program

12 April 2013

Sydney Writers' Festival last night unveiled an exciting program of events for 2013, that will take place at the festival site in Walsh Bay between 20 - 26th May. We are pleased to announce that as official sponsors, the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at the University of Sydney will feature heavily across the program with a dynamic series of panels, presentations and workshops. Our academics and alumni will engage in lively discussions with notable authors from both Australia and around the world, under this years' festival theme of 'Storytelling'.

Highlighting the faculty's rich diversity, our academic staff will participate in a series of panels on subjects ranging from the classics to multiculturalism, and from war art to contemporary fan fiction.

In a new initiative for the faculty, we are thrilled to be bringing The New Yorker's chief literary critic, James Wood, to Australia to participate in the Festival. Labelled by The Guardian as "probably the Anglophone world's most esteemed literary critic", Wood, who is a visiting lecturer at Harvard, is launching a new collection of critical essays, appropriately titled The Fun Stuff.

Among Wood's scheduled appearances is a forum with Geordie Williams, chief literary critic at The Australian, and Jane Gleeson-White, an author and faculty alumna. The trio will discuss some of the books that inspire and compel them.

The Power Institute, Sydney Ideas and the United States Studies Centre are also supporting the visit of renowned art historian Michael Fried, who in addition to his Sydney Ideas event will join a panel discussion in Walsh Bay on conflict in art.

As well as hosting two respected international literary figures, our faculty's leading thinkers will also be well represented across the Festival. Dr Alastair Blanshard, from the Department of Classics and Ancient History, will facilitate a discussion on what the classics teach us and why the ancient world is still relevant today. Meanwhile, Joseph Brennan, a PhD candidate in the Department of Media and Communications, will lead a lively discussion on the rise of cutting-edge online fan fiction, which also includes fellow PhD candidate David Large and the original publisher of the phenomenon that is 50 Shades of Grey.

Dr Tim Soutphommasane, a political philosopher at the University's Institute for Democracy and Human Rights, will also make a number of appearances at Sydney Writers' Festival, focusing on his research and writing on multiculturalism and migration. In his own solo event, titled Don't Go Back To Where You Came From, Soutphommasane will dissect the overwhelming success of multiculturalism in Australia.

Dr Peter Minter, coordinator of the faculty's Indigenous Australian Studies major, will also feature at the Festival as he leads a celebration of Indigenous Australian literature and identity. This Faculty of Education and Social Work event, titled Turning the Tide: Indigenous Australian Writers and Thinkers, is returning to Sydney Writers' Festival for the second year in a row, and will include Lionel Fogarty, Jeanine Leane, and Melissa Lucashenko.

Other faculty-affiliated events stand testament to our academics' expertise on the big issues of our time. Professor Kerry Brown, Director of the China Studies Centre, and Dr Bates Gill, CEO of the United States Studies Centre, will participate in a forum on the relationship between those two world superpowers in the provocative panel discussion, China, Friend or Foe?.

History will also be a key talking point at several events this year. Dr Richard Miles will facilitate an event with acclaimed British historian William Dalrymple, whose latest book Return of A King: The Battle For Afghanistan has received overwhelmingly positive reviews. Professor Ann Curthoys will conduct a workshop on writing history at the State Library, and Dr Juanita Feros Ruys will host a panel discussion on Stories That Last. Professor Ruys will also speak at a session called Sex and Representation, which includes one of the world's most famous feminists, Naomi Wolf.

In our single on-campus event this year, Professor Mark Ledbury will discuss the complexities and challenges of editorial work, to take place at the Macleay Museum early in the Festival calendar on May 20th.

As well as university staff, we are also thrilled to see a large number of university alumni in the program, including David Malouf, Delia Falconer, Malcolm Turnbull, Luke Davies, David Marr and many more.

For further information about our stellar line-up of events, visit our new festival hub 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 this premier cultural event.

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Contact: Kate Mayor

Phone: 02 9351 2208; 0434 561 056

Email: 12033d176c3f082b373012231826250b4b56022d3a782a3b