Some things are worth getting up early for, especially when coffee and great conversation are guaranteed. Catch up on the news with The Sydney Morning Herald at the Festival’s first session of the day. Join SMH editors and journalists, and special guest Francis Wade, to hear what’s making headlines, and the stories we need to follow.

Supported by The Sydney Morning Herald.

Francis Wade (International)

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Francis Wade is an independent journalist and author based in London, focusing on Burma/Myanmar and Southeast Asia. Between 2009 and 2012 he headed the English language team at the award-winning Democratic Voice of Burma news organisation in northern Thailand, and has since produced reportage and commentary from across South and Southeast for international titles including The Guardian, Washington Post, Time, Foreign Policy, New York Review of Books and Foreign Affairs. In recent years he has focused on the mass violence and democratisation in Myanmar. Wade is the author of Myanmar's Enemy Within: Buddhist Violence and the Making of a Muslim 'Other'.

Julie Lewis (Australian)

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Julie Lewis is the opinion editor of The Sydney Morning Herald. She has been a journalist for 27 years and has lived and worked in the US and Russia. She was previously the Herald's Letters co-editor and was a co-editor of the book Pardon Me for Mentioning: Unpublished Letters to the SMH and The Age.

Jewel Topsfield (Australian)

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Jewel Topsfield has been a journalist with Fairfax Media for 14 years. She was the Indonesia correspondent for the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age from 2015 to 2018. In 2016 she won the prestigious $20,000 Lowy Institute Media Award, which recognises journalists who have deepened and enriched the discussion of global issues in Australia. She led the team that won a Walkley Award for its reportage on claims Australian officials paid people smugglers to return a boat of asylum seekers to Indonesia. This also led to a Senate Inquiry.

Matt Wade (Australian)

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Matt Wade is a senior writer and columnist for the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age where he writes mostly about economics, politics and demography. He co-hosts the Fairfax Media podcast It All Adds Up. Matt was based in India covering the South Asia region as a foreign correspondent for Fairfax between 2007 and 2011. He also worked in the Canberra Press Gallery as the Herald’s Economics Correspondent.