Once upon a time… Pregnant with the thrill of storytelling, full of surprises, calm, jarring, momentous or direct, the first lines of a writer’s work take us to exactly where they want us to be. Whether this is at the beginning, the middle or the end of a story, a life, or an argument we are in their hands, and now have to trust them to take us on the journey. Come and meet our festival guests as they unfold their beginnings  five minutes of the stories, books, poetry and more that they are sharing at the Festival.

Supported by UNSW Sydney.

Brigid Delaney (Australian)

Brigid Delaney

Brigid Delaney is an author, journalist and speechwriter. She has written four books – and is the co-creator – along with Benjamin Law of the Netflix series Wellmania, based on one of her books.

Osman Faruqi (Australian)

Osman Faruqi

Osman Faruqi is the culture editor of The Sydney Morning and The Age. He is an award-winning journalist who has previously worked as an editor at the ABC and Schwartz Media.

Simon Holmes à Court (Australian)

Simon Holmes à Court

Simon is the founder of Climate 200, the community crowdfunding initiative with 11,200 donors from all 151 electorates across Australia. At the 2022 Federal election, Climate 200's donors levelled the playing field for climate, integrity and gender equity ambitious community independents, helping to elect seven new independents to the Australian Parliament. He is the author of The Big Teal published in 2022.

Ben Newell (Australian)

Ben Newell

Ben Newell is Professor of Psychology at UNSW Sydney. He has published many articles and book chapters on human judgement and decision making, and has an enduring fascination with the role that the unconscious plays in our decisions. His most recent book is Open Minded: Searching for Truth about the Unconscious Mind, co-authored with Professor David Shanks. It is a provocative look at the unconscious mind that challenges contemporary perceptions and exposes the indefensible science that fostered them.

Margot Saville (Australian)

Margot Saville

Margot Saville practised as a lawyer for one year before becoming a journalist in the late 1980s. She is a freelance writer who has worked at The Australian, ABC Television, the Nine Television Network and is currently published in The Sydney Morning Herald and Crikey.