The 2010 Sydney Writers' Festival celebrated the year's literature and welcomed the writers, both local and international, who have produced it. We were proud this year to bring to you a galaxy of writers who excited, inspired, informed and, perhaps, even enraged you. Many of these writers are well known names, others you met for the first time. All of them had important things to say.
The literary endeavour is at the heart our festival and this year we welcomed Colm Tóibín, Peter Carey, Lionel Shriver, Yiyun Li, Les Murray, Alex Miller and a host of newer novelists, as well as the swag of poets who completed our literary roundup. We have always provided space for poets and international writers to read their work but this year there was a series of Reading Musters, giving you the chance to hear a great number of local fiction writers read.
We gathered at a critical moment in history — with a world still reeling from the near collapse of the global financial system and threatened by the prospect of catastrophic climate change.
Assembling some of the finest minds in Australia and the world provides the opportunity to understand these crises and a range of other pressing issues. It's an opportunity to re-think the way we live.
We looked at change and renewal in a variety of ways, but especially through some of our keynote events:
- The hopes for political change in the astonishing reform movement in Iran (see Iran, A New Beginning and The Dissident Cafe: Tweeting from Tehran).
- Spiritual change and renewal in the ancient mystic traditions of India, presented in the Nine Lives show at the Sydney Opera House (including the opportunity to witness the spiritual incarnation of a practitioner of one of these traditions).
- The call for a more fundamental change in our approach to the globalised economy is gathered under a series of events that included John Ralston Saul, David Wessel and Raj Patel.
- The challenge of climate change is similarly gathered under a suite of events, including those with Bill McKibben, Ross Garnaut, Clive Hamilton, Tony Kevin, Anna Rose and others.
The program was exciting, and comprehensive. With over 300 events we realised that it is time to introduce some navigation aides. We have divided the program into five broad categories, based on Sydney’s icons, as a way to organise our key events.
Taking the artistic reins of this Festival this past year has been an honour and a privilege, and would not have been possible without the support of a professional, dynamic and dedicated team led by Executive Director Ben Strout. I take this opportunity to thank them, as well as the board and the funders, sponsors and donors who make this all possible.
We hope you found it stimulating and, above all, enjoyable.