Explore the 2024 Program

Squad's Night Out for $35 or less

When there are so many things to see at Sydney Writers' Festival, it can be challenging to budget your tickets and your time. But attending the Festival doesn't need to break the bank. Over the last few weeks, we have put together a series of suggested event itineraries to help you plan how to attend the Festival on a budget.

This week, how to have a squad's night out at the Festival for $35 or less. Whether you're a group of book lovers or comedy connoisseurs, we've got events to suit your friend group's interests. 

Whether you have a full day to spare or only an evening, you can attend the Festival and hear from writers and thinkers from near and far.

Niche interests

Are you a group of friends who loves learning something new about a niche topic with the latest docu-series or period drama? These two sessions dive into the deep-end with experts in their fields.

Jake Adelstein is an American journalist who has spent years investigating underground crime in the cities of Japan. After his popular Tokyo Vice, which was adapted for the screen for HBO, he returns to the yakuza with Tokyo Noir, a darkly comic true crime exposé.

Esmé Louise James blew-up on TikTok for her wild and raunchy videos revealing the history of sex and sexuality. She's now channeled her short-form video content into a book: Kinky History: The Stories of Our Intimate Lives, Past and Present. She joins forces with science historian David Baker to discuss what sex has looked like over the years and what it means for us today.

Book lovers

If you're already a group of book lovers, or a book club, even, then these are the classic Sydney Writers' Festival events for you that bring together readers and writers for some proper word-nerdery.

Romance is having a real moment right now with many readers making their first forays into the genre. Novelists James Colley and Jonathan Seidler have been bit by the love bug and are exploring romance as a genre for the blokes, too.

On the flip side of lovey-dovey romance is hard-nosed crime. These Australian crime writers are taking on the much-beloved genre and giving it their own spin. Sulari Gentill's The Mystery Writer continues her meta-fictional book within a book structure popularised with The Woman in the Library while Benjamin Stevenson takes inspiration from the great Agatha Christie in his newest release, Everyone On This Train Is a Suspect. For the more noir-inclined, Dinuka McKenzie brings Detective Kate Miles back for another action-packed country mystery.


Sydney Writers' Festival isn't only about the page, we're also about performance. If you're a friend group that goes to concerts, theatre or comedy shows together, here's another opportunity to see some of your favourite performers.

The SWF Great Debate returns for another year with two teams, led by Annabel Crabb and David Marr, duking it out to answer the question, is artificial intelligence better than the real thing? With AI experts, Tracey Spicer and Toby Walsh, alongside comedy experts, Matilda Boseley, Yumi Stynes and Rhys Nicholson, things are bound to be entertaining.

If you didn't get your comedy fix at Sydney Comedy Festival, then FEAST will help fill your coffers. Host Jennifer Wong brings together a dinner party of comedians including James Colley, Madeleine Gray, Oliver Twist and Yumi Stynes to share delicious stories.

One of the events programmed by Guest Curator Jazz Money is a poetry performance that will prove to be equal parts uplifting and nourishing. Some of the most exciting poets in Australia today join Jazz on stage, including Susie Anderson, Bebe Oliver, Shivram Gopinath, Laniyuk, Jeanine Leane, Omar Sakr, Sara M Saleh and Anne-Marie Te Whiu.

The nights are alive at the Festival Precinct! So, rather than taking the friend group to another humdrum pub drinks, try something new and novel from panel discussions to comedy performances to poetry readings and more all for $35 or less.

Participating in art and culture doesn't always need to break your budget. But you don't have to take our word for it. These are only a selection of the events available each day of the Festival so there are plenty more to consider, including dozens of free events, too.

Continue reading...