Over the years, journalist, author and screenwriter Benjamin Law has appeared at the Sydney Writers' Festival as a facilitator and a guest. He's got a pretty good idea of what makes for an interesting panel discussion.

Ben spoke to us about which events he's most excited to attend this year (and which author photos have piqued his interest). 

Gay For Page

This is an absolute roll call of the best queer writers, not just at Sydney Writers' Festival, but the planet. Yrsa Daley-Ward, Masha Gessen, Eileen Myles, Carmen Maria Machado, Pajtim Statovci and Christos Tsiolkas share with Sally Rugg the queer novels that changed their lives – CAN YOU THINK OF ANYTHING MORE PERFECT? BE STILL MY BEATING GAY HEART. 

Francisco Cantú: The Line Becomes a River

Originally I was just drawn to this writer and book because of his criminally handsome author photo which I honestly can’t and won't stop staring at. But listening to a recent NPR interview with him, he’s an incredible consummate storyteller about America’s vexed relationship with migrants in the 21st century. 

My Cat Yugoslavia

The Sydney Writers’ Festival website says: "Few emerging writers could turn the story of a talking cat that prompts a young gay immigrant to confront his demons in his native Kosovo into an internationally lauded debut novel". Honestly, folks. You had me at “few”. (Also, another author with an outrageously handsome author photo, it’s truly ridiculous.)

SWF Gala: Power

Wesley Morris co-hosts my favourite podcast in the world right now – The New York Times’ culture chat Still Processing – and the idea of seeing him speak alongside the likes of Warwick Thornton, Masha Gessen, Sally Rugg and Tanya Plibersek (and others!) is pretty special. 

Eileen Myles: To Dig a Hole in Eternity

Eileen Myles is a little bit of a poet, a little bit of queer icon and a little bit of a rockstar. If Eileen’s not on your radar yet, see them live and they bloody will be.