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Niche events at the Festival

The 2024 Sydney Writers’ Festival program features renowned local and international authors. Festival-goers’ favourites return to the stage and annual events such as the Great Debate and the Curiosity Lecture series are back in full swing.

Across the breadth of this stellar lineup, some events will inevitably fly under the radar, but fear not! We’ve curated a selection of five events that will appeal to more niche audiences as true hidden gems of the program. Who knows, you might even find your new favourite event!

For the brave

As winter approaches and the evenings get cooler, bundle up around a real campfire at Firetalk. For this free after dark event, guest curator Jazz Money has assembled a lineup of acclaimed First Nations storytellers to spin yarns that amuse, inspire, excite and thrill – it won’t just be the weather giving you chills! Featuring Tony Birch, Hannah Donnelly, Laniyuk, Enoch Mailangi and Melanie Saward.

For the sports-lovers

Coming off the success of the Matildas at the FIFA Women’s World Cup last year, women’s sporting leagues are gaining much-deserved recognition – but there’s still space to grow from here. This panel features Olympic rugby gold medallist Chloe Dalton (Girls Don’t Play Sport), Australia’s most decorated cycling Olympian Anna Meares and world champion pro-athlete Jana Pittman (Enough) as they discuss the future of women’s sport in Australia in conversation with Tracey Holmes.

For the gossips

Who doesn’t love a bit of gossip? At this event, writers who have aired out their personal, familial and community affairs in their memoirs discuss the aftermath of this disclosure. Hosted by George Haddad, this conversation between Benjamin Law, Rhys Nicholson and Amy Thunig explores the fine line between publicity and privacy and what happens when that line is crossed.

For the animal-lovers

From the big business of dinosaur bone excavation to the secrets of the deep sea, Griffith Review 82: Animal Magic explores the wonders of the animal world. This panel features the editor of Griffith ReviewCarody Culver, and writers Chris Flynn and Laura Jean McKay, whose work investigates the boundaries between animal and human worlds. Together they explore this edition’s central theme – mankind’s innate social, cultural and emotional connection to animals.

For the photographers

From The Tank Man photo of Tiananmen Square to Che Guevara’s iconic Guerrillero Heroico portrait, photography has the power to capture moments, and spark movements. Since 2018, the #5kmfromthefrontline project has brought stories from Ukraine to the people of the world, providing personal and deeply affecting perspectives of military conflict. Join journalist Alisa Sopova and photographer Anastasia Taylor-Lind as they share moments from their extraordinary documentary photography series and explore the power of photography as a means to convey the true-to-life experience of daily life in a war zone.

If you have an hour to spare between other sessions or want to take a punt on something entirely new, these niche events offer unexpected perspectives on the art of storytelling.

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