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University community booked for 2019 Sydney Writers' Festival

15 March 2019
Long-term support for Australia's biggest celebration of writing
More than 30 University of Sydney academics, students and graduates will join a powerhouse line-up of speakers at this year's Sydney Writers' Festival.

The University of Sydney community will join an eclectic mix of international and local authors for Australia’s largest celebration of writing, from Monday 29 April to Sunday 5 May.

We’re thrilled to have such an extraordinary range of University of Sydney academics closely involved with this year’s program, enriching our sessions with their expertise.
Sydney Writers’ Festival Artistic Director Michaela McGuire.

As a proud 2019 Premier Partner, the University’s sponsorship reaches its eighth year, reaffirming its commitment to ideas and culture in the city as the festival returns to Carriageworks, a five-minute walk from the main Camperdown/Darlington campus.

We are proud to continue our partnership with the Festival and excited to see our scholars engage with some of the world’s most exciting writers and thinkers, right on our doorstep.
Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Professor Annamarie Jagose.

“The central ambitions of the Sydney Writers’ Festival – to present new ideas, tackle important social issues and stimulate debate and discussion – are also at the heart of what we do at the University of Sydney," Professor Jagose said. 

A major highlight of the partnership includes an exclusive on-campus event that will see bestselling US novelist and Man Booker finalist Rachel Kushner join Professor Jagose to discuss her latest novel, The Mars Room, in the new Social Sciences Lecture Theatre on Thursday 2 May.

“Sydney Writers’ Festival is delighted to bring Rachel Kushner to the University of Sydney,” Ms McGuire said.

Rachel Kushner.

Rachel Kushner.

“Rachel Kushner is one of the most exciting and important novelists writing today. The themes she devastatingly explores in The Mars Room resonate perfectly with the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences’ commitment to the transformational power of ideas and original thinking.”

Another highlight will see recently-appointed Professor of Public Practice (Sociology and Political Theory) Tim Soutphommasane taking part in ‘Lie to Me’ an unmissable evening of storytelling at Sydney Town Hall.

As part of its continued sponsorship, the University will support the Nights at Carriageworks program – a provocative series of events aligned with social justice issues – in which Stan Grant will discuss Australia Day, his powerful new book about reconciliation; and former Olympic swimmer and first woman to sign a male-modelling contract, Casey Legler, will speak to her memoir of athleticism and addiction, Godspeed.

Our speakers 

The extraordinary breadth of expertise at the University of Sydney will be showcased at events featuring:

  • Professor Annamarie Jagose joining acclaimed authors Alexander Chee and Rebecca Makkai to reflect on the literature of love, HIV and AIDS
  • Evelyn Araluen joining five other poets responding creatively to Marcel Duchamp, the artistic giant of the 20th century who ushered in an age of conceptual art
  • Arts/Law student Ferdous Bahar presenting at the launch of Sweatshop Women – the first ever collection of short stories, essays and poems developed exclusively by women of colour from Western Sydney
  • Dr Anna Broinowski joining a panel discussion of how reporters and writers uphold the line between fact and fiction.
  • Professor James Der Derian in conversation with Oxford University’s Jonathan Lusthaus, exploring the murky underworld of cybercrime
  • Dr Frances Flanagan and Mark Pesce joining a panel event on the future of disruption hosted by Griffith Review editor Ashley Hay
  • Emeritus Professor Graeme Gill joining a debate on the legitimacy of the Russian threat
  • Professor Peter Godfrey-Smith explaining how the solitary octopus became so smart
  • Dr Jessica Kean speaking to US novelist and scholar Jordy Rosenberg about his inventive debut, Confessions of the Fox
  • Dr Karl Kruszelnicki answering all manner of weird and wacky science questions
  • Dr Meredith Lake exploring how writers bring a religious voice to their narratives
  • Associate Professor Nicole Mockler in conversation with memoirist Gabbie Stroud on how the current education system is letting down children and parents
  • Dr Astrida Neimanis in conversation with author and Stella Prize co-founder Sophie Cunningham on the value and meaning of nature in our cities and lives
  • Dr Jadey O'Regan and Dr Sam Shpall hosting short lectures as part of the free Curiosity Lecture Series
  • Sydney Law School’s Professor David Rolph discussing Australian defamation laws with journalist David Marr, former Melbourne University Press CEO Louise Adler and the ABC’s Osman Faruqi
  • Sydney College of the Arts PhD candidate and creator of #IAmMyOwnGuardian Ms Saffaa discussing women’s rights and queer rights in Saudi Arabia with Four Corners’ Sophie McNeill and founder of the #WomenToDrive movement Saudi Manal al-Sharif
  • Dr Omid Tofighian discussing his work translating Behrouz Boochani’s No Friend but the Mountains, the book that won the 2019 Victorian Prize for Literature, Australia’s richest literary award
  • Emeritus Professor and Former Dean of Sydney Law School Gillian Triggs discussing her memoir, Speaking Up
  • Education Ambassador Eddie Woo talking all things mathematics at two special events with the ABC’s James Valentine.

The 2019 program also includes several University of Sydney alumni, including Sarah Ayoub, Charlie Garber, Rebecca Huntley, Ben Jenkins, Zoe Norton Lodge, Sarah McDonald, Andrew O’Keefe, Jordan Raskopoulos, Chris Taylor, Holly Throsby and more.

Stay tuned

University of Sydney reporters – media and communications students Abbey Lenton and Haydn Hickson – will capture the festival first hand through social media. To see their updates, follow the University of Sydney Instagram and Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences Twitter accounts.

TOP IMAGE: by Jamie Williams, courtesy of the Sydney Writers' Festival.

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