Renowned author and journalist Peter FitzSimons will deliver the first Sports Writers Festival oration in Sydney. The author, former Wallaby and Chair of the Australian Republican Movement, will address the idea that sport is more than just about scoreboard and balance sheets: sport should be a powerful force in building stronger, vibrant, healthy communities. Is sport in Australia keeping its promise? After the Oration, Sports Writers Festival curator and journalist Francis Leach will join Peter in conversation.

Presented by the Sports Writers' Festival in association with the Sydney Writers' Festival. 

| The Sports Writers Festival is a tribal gathering of writers and readers who share a passion for sport and great writing. |

Peter FitzSimons (Australian)

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Peter FitzSimons is a well-respected columnist for The Sydney Morning Herald and Sun-Herald, speaks four languages, has played rugby for Australia, co-hosted radio shows with Mike Carlton and Doug Mulray, interviewed famous people around the globe from George Bush to Diego Maradona, is the Chair of the Australian Republican Movement and has written over 27 best-selling books.

He is the biographer not only of World Cup winning Wallaby captains, Nick Farr-Jones and John Eales, but also former Opposition Leader Kim Beazley, boxer Les Darcy, aviator Sir Charles Kingsford Smith, war heroine Nancy Wake and Antarctic explorer Sir Douglas Mawson. In 2001, he was Australia’s biggest selling non-fiction author, and duplicated that feat in 2004, with his book on Kokoda. He has been Australia’s best-selling non-fiction author in the last decade and in November 2013 released his current bestseller on Ned Kelly.

In 1984, he broke into the Wallabies under the coaching of Alan Jones, then lived in France and Italy playing rugby for the next five years whilst learning both languages as well as Spanish. Upon his return to Australia, he again played for the Wallabies, under Bob Dwyer, going on to play seven Tests

Francis Leach (Australian )

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Francis Leach is a broadcaster and journalist who has played all over the ground. Now a member of the SEN 1116 broadcast team, Francis covers A-League and Socceroos football, AFL & NRL action, amongst other sports. He’s a regular panelist on ABC TV’s Sunday Sports show Offsiders and Sideliners, often pinch-hitting on Network 10’s The Project talking sport. Through the media, Francis has racked up significant game time, and he’s also well-known on twitter as @SaintFrankly where he is a leading opinion-shaper.