This is an event from the 2014 Festival. Please try searching for the current event using the menu at the top or use the search box in the top righthand corner of our website.

Festival Club - Friday
Friday, May 23 2014 7:00 PM - 11:30 PM Ticketed: $15
Pier 2/3 Club Stage, Pier 2/3, Hickson Road, Walsh Bay
Colin McDowell, John Safran, Jesse Brand, Omar Musa, Maxine Beneba Clarke, Inua Ellams, DJ: Ribongia, Miles Merrill, Vanessa Berry, Sam Cooney, Pip Smith, Aden Rolfe, Rebecca Giggs, Eimear McBride, Bobette Buster
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Stay up late with SWF. Featuring mix-tape memoir with Lifted Brow writers, The Chaser’s Empty Vessel with Julian Morrow and Chris Taylor, and Festival favourite, Spoken Four, hosted by Miles Merrill.


7:30 PM - Mixtape Memoir
The Lifted Brow presents Mixtape Memoir: five writers each talk about a single song that impacted them in some way. Featuring live music and accompanying visuals from Australia’s best comic artists.

9 PM - The Chaser’s Empty Vessel
The Chaser's Empty Vessel returns to lower the tone of Sydney Writers' Festival for another year. Join Chris Taylor and Julian Morrow for more lively, irreverent and freewheeling discussions with some of the biggest and/or longest names at the Festival including Bobette Buster, Colin McDowell and John Safran.

10:30 PM - Spoken Four
The Festival's best spoken-word artists deliver powerful verse and breathtaking stories. Featuring Jesse Brand, Omar Musa, Maxine Beneba Clarke, Inua Ellams and DJ: Ribongia Hosted by Miles Merrill. Presented with Word Travels.

Change from printed program: Matthew Luhn is no longer able to attend the Festival. He will be replaced by Story Consultant Bobette Buster.

Julian Morrow (Australian)

Julian Morrow is a co-founder of The Chaser, a satirical media empire which rivals Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp in all fields except power, influence, popularity and profitability. He spends one day a week experimenting with being boring and middle-aged as host of the Friday edition of RN Drive and regularly resents the ABC consumer affairs show The Checkout.

Also appearing at...
Vanessa Berry (Australian)

Vanessa Berry is the author of two memoirs, Ninety 9 and Strawberry Hills Forever. She writes the Sydney exploration and creative cartography blog Mirror Sydney. She is also known as a visual artist and her work has been exhibited at major galleries such as the Museum of Contemporary Art and National Gallery of Australia. She is currently a PhD candidate at Macquarie University, researching creative nonfiction, cartography and urbanism.

Also appearing at...
Sam Cooney (Australian)

Sam Cooney is the editor and publisher of Australian-­based literary/arts/culture magazine The Lifted Brow. He has worked with several Australian publishers, including Giramondo, Sleepers Publishing and Momentum Books, to bring new work to publication, and has commissioned and edited writing for Overland, Griffith Review and Voiceworks. His own writing has appeared in publications such as Meanjin, Island, Seizure, Going Down Swinging, The Rumpus, a Sleepers Almanac, Crikey, The Australian and in the McSweeney’s Silent History geofiction project. He has told stories at Penguin Plays Rough, Radio With Pictures and Women Of Letters, and writes a column about the creative potential of Twitter for Junkee. Sam teaches Writing for Digital Media at Melbourne University and at Victoria University and recently finished up as Program and Marketing Manager at the Small Press Network.

Also appearing at...
Rebecca Giggs (Australian)

Rebecca Giggs writes about ecology and environmental imagination, animals, landscape, politics and memory. Her essays and reviews have appeared in Aeon, [Overland, Meanjin, Australian Book Review and The Guardian, while her stories have been widely published and anthologised in collections including Best Australian Stories 2011 and The Best of the Lifted Brow (2013). Her first non-fiction book will be published by Scribe in 2015.

Pip Smith (Australian)

Pip Smith is a writer and devisor of writing-based events. She has run Penguin Plays Rough since 2008, for which she edited the Penguin Plays Rough Book of Short Stories in 2011, and most recently developed Details Unknown for Sydney’s Justice and Police Museum. Pip was a co-director of the National Young Writers’ Festival in 2012 and made the interactive poem Wayside Renga for the Red Room Company. Her first poetry collection, Too Close for Comfort, won the Helen Ann Bell Award and was published by SUP in 2013.

Chris Taylor (Australian)

Chris Taylor is a writer, director and performer who's best known as a member of The Chaser team, whose television programs include The Hamster Wheel and The Chaser’s War on Everything. Chris has also presented radio shows on triple j, including the drive program Today Today and the ARIA Award winning comedy series The Blow Parade. His debut book How To Meet Deadlines has been postponed to a 2018 release date.

Also appearing at...
DJ: Ribongia (Australian)

DJ/Producer Antonio Rosselli’s (Ribongia) music is an explosive technical drawing for the ears. Referencing a vast array of pop cultures his sounds are layered until like light fragmenting through a prism, they enter the aural sphere; chaos ensues. Ribongia has shared stages with Flying Lotus, Gaslamp Killer, Opiuo, Vibesquod, Spoonbill, Nitin Sawhney Sound System and Shigheto.His remix credits include Ngaiire; Lanie Lane; Thundamentals; The Crooked Fiddle Band; Kira Puru & The Bruise; Laneous & The Family Yah.

John Safran (Australian)

John Safran is an award-winning documentary-maker of provocative and hilarious takes on race, the media, religion and other issues. John first hit TV screens in 1997 on Race Around the World (ABC-TV). Both John Safran's Music Jamboree (SBS, 2002) and John Safran vs. God (SBS, 2004) won Australian Film Industry awards for Best Comedy Series and Most Original Concept, and were also nominated for Logie Awards. Other shows include John Safran's Race Relations (ABC-TV, 2009) which was nominated for two awards at the prestigious Rose d'Or Festival in Switzerland and Speaking in Tongues (SBS, 2005-06). John currently co-hosts Sunday Night Safran, a radio talk show on Triple J with cranky but beloved Catholic priest, Father Bob Maguire. His most recent book is Murder in Mississippi.

Also appearing at...
Inua Ellams (International)

Inua Ellams is an internationally touring poet, playwright and performer. He has eight published books of poetry and his plays include 13 Fairy Negro Tales and his first play The 14th Tale - a one-man show which he performed -, was awarded a Fringe First at the Edinburgh Festival. His third play, Black T-Shirt Collection ran at the National Theatre in 2012. He is working on a new play, Barber Shop Chronicles, a new pamphlet and his first poetry collection.

Supported by the British Council.

Also appearing at...
Miles Merrill
Miles Merrill (Australian)

Miles Merrill writes and performs poems, monologues and stories for venues and festivals internationally. His productions The Night Words Festival and Slamming won outstanding critical acclaim. Merrill directs the international performing writers program Australian Poetry Slam. He is also creative director of the literary arts company Word Travels. He publishes on CD, DVD, online and in print, including The Penguin Anthology of Australian Poetry, but is best experienced live.

Also appearing at...
Omar Musa (Australian)

Omar Musa is a Malaysian-Australian rapper and poet from Queanbeyan. He is the former winner of the Australian Poetry Slam and the Indian Ocean Poetry Slam. He has released three hip hop albums, two poetry books (including Parang), appeared on ABC’s Q&A and received a standing ovation at TEDx Sydney at the Sydney Opera House. He is currently working on a play, Bonegatherer, to be staged in 2014. He is part of international hip hop group MoneyKat and his debut novel Here Come the Dogs will be published by Penguin Australia in 2014.

Also appearing at...
Colin McDowell (International)

Colin McDowell is one of the world's top fashion commentators. Previously a designer, illustrator and publicist, for the last 15 years he has been a fashion writer for The Sunday Times style section. Colin has written 22 books on fashion, including the seminal McDowell's Directory of Twentieth Century Fashion; Shoes: Fashion and Fantasy]; Hats: Status, Style and Glamour; and Fashion Today. He has also written biographies of, among others, Ralph Lauren, John Galliano and Manolo Blahnik. Colin's latest book is Anatomy of Fashion.

Also appearing at...
Aden Rolfe (Australian)

Aden Rolfe is a writer and editor whose practice includes poetry, performance writing and criticism. His poetry has been published in The Age, Best Australian Poems and Cordite, and he was the 2013 recipient of the Dorothy Hewett Flagship Fellowship for Poetry from Varuna. He’s written a number of pieces on crows and ravens, including an essay for The Lifted Brow, and a new radioplay, Like a Writing Desk, which is being broadcast on ABC Radio National this May.

Eimear McBride (International)

Eimear McBride’s debut novel, A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing has won the Goldsmiths Prize. The novel touches on everything from family violence to sexuality and the personal struggle to remain intact in times of intense trauma, McBride writes with singular intensity, acute sensitivity and mordant wit.

Also appearing at...
Matthew Luhn (International)

Matthew Luhn is the head of story at Pixar. He began his career at Pixar in 1992 as an animator on Toy Story, the very first CGI movie. Since that time, Matthew has worked as a storyboard artist generating new ideas and characters on Toy Story 2, Monsters Inc., Finding Nemo, Cars, Ratatouille, UP, Toy Story 3, Monsters University. Prior to Pixar, Matthew was an animator on the iconic TV show The Simpsons.

Supported by Epiphany International Artists, producers of Finding Animation

Matthew Luhn is no longer able to attend the Festival.

Also appearing at...
Bobette Buster (Australia)

Bobette Buster is a world-renowned teacher on story, cinema Language and animated stories. Her highly respected career in Hollywood includes working as creative consultant for Tony Scott, Larry Gelbart and Ray Stark and lecturing on story craft at USC and top film schools around the world. Bobette consults regularly at major studios including Pixar, Disney Animation, Sony Animation, and Twentieth Century Fox Studios, and worked with the Disney Story Animation Team of Frozen for years while in development (Academy Award winner and top ten grossing film of all time) and Sofia the First, the no.1 rated cable preschool program 2013. The writers of both productions openly sing her praises for helping them with re-craft Disney princesses for the modern age. Bobette is the author of the recently released Do Story, How To Tell Your Story So The World Listens.

Also appearing at...


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