For years, Sydney Writers' Festival has brought together leading writers and intellects to celebrate the fascinating world of literature and storytelling with. This year, we explore the theme Stories for the Future. With our Opening Address tonight and sessions starting tomorrow, picking the events to attend over your four-day literature can be understandably challenging. That's why we're sharing some of our daily highlights to ensure you get the most out of your Sydney Writers' Festival experience.
Thursday, 25 May
Start your day with a bang with "the queen of outback noir" (The Sunday Times) Jane Harper as she discusses her latest crime novel, Exiles. Be transported into Aaron Falk's thrilling investigation as he unearths the disappearance of a woman from a country wine festival whose infant daughter is found unharmed in her pram. Joining in on the action-packed adventure is interviewer, moderator and curator for writers and ideas festivals, Michaela Kalowski.
Toby Walsh on the Artificial in Artificial Intelligence
Interested in the world of AI as it becomes more commonplace in our everyday functioning? Join Chief Scientist of UNSW's new AI Institute Toby Walsh as he seeks to answer if we can trust AI, or if it will eventually deceive us. Toby offers a fascinating perspective on our growing reliance on AI and how we might ensure it is used for ethical purposes.
With the future feeling very unpredictable, how can you prepare and be resilient for what is to come? Join three thinkers about climate change, health and technology, Joëlle Gergis, Norman Swan, and Toby Walsh, as they explore what is to come. In conversation with Julianne Schultz.
Your Favourites' Favourites: Nakkiah Lui & Madison Godfrey
Your Favourites' Favourites is back with your most beloved writers speaking with breakout authors that they love. Joining us this year is renowned playwright, actor and director Nakkiah Lui in conversation with Madison Godfrey. They discuss Madison's critically acclaimed memoir of poetry, Dress Rehearsals, which documents a decade of performing womanhood in a non-binary body.
Friday, 26 May
In Conversation: Anthony Joseph
Love poetry? Trinidadian-British poet, novelist and musician Anthony Joseph was award the prestigious T.S. Eliot Prize in 2022 for Sonnets for Albert. Join him in conversation with Felicity Plunkett as he discusses his craft and extensive body of work.
Who doesn't love a good romantic story? Join bestselling historical fantasy romance author Freya Marske, acclaimed debut novelist Saman Shad and Wiradjuri councillor turned fiction writer Yvonne Weldon as they share the secrets to creating page-turning love stories to make your heart beat a little faster. They appear in conversation with ABC radio host and self-professed romance novel addict Rudi Bremer.
Raina MacIntyre on Past, Present and Future Pandemics
Curious about the history of pandemics? World-leading epidemiologist Raina MacIntyre examines the lessons we have learned across history and how we might navigate the new frontiers of biosecurity.
André Dao & Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai
Bestselling author and poet Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai and debut Australian author André Dao come together to discuss their riveting new novels that explore the tumult of Vietnamese history through themes of memory, colonialism, inheritance and belonging. They appear in conversation with Sheila Ngọc Phạm.
SWF Great Debate: The Future is Still Worth Waiting For
7–8:15pm, Sydney Town Hall
Watch two teams of our best and brightest use their skills of persuasion and wit to go head to head on whether our future is still worth waiting for. Featuring team captains Annabel Crabb and David Marr, along with teammates Tom Ballard, Jean Hinchliffe, Bo Seo and Amy Thunig.
Saturday, 27 May
There's no finer way to start your morning than with a cup of coffee, a bite to eat and expanding your knowledge with leading food writers Maggie Beer, Matthew Evans, Rosheen Kaul and Jennifer Wong. They will be sharing their favourite breakfast stories, signing your books and filling you in on what they're talking about later on at the Festival.
Be inspired by a panel of leading advocates as they consider solutions to the pervasive problem of ultra-processed products, food waste and toxic farming methods. Featuring champion of First Nations food practices and Warndu co-founders Damien Coulthard and Rebecca Sullivan, chef and writer Matthew Evans and food rescue activist Ronni Kahn in conversation with Margot Saville.
Nothing compares to a home cooked meal. Join a panel of celebrated chefs featuring Durkhanai Ayubi (Parwana), Rosheen Kaul (Chinese-ish), Asma Khan (Ammu) and Alice Zaslavsky (The Joy of Better Cooking) with host Jennifer Wong as they compare their comfort meals and dish out a rich conversation on the significance of food in communicating culture.
Curious on how books are adapted for TV and film? Four Festival writers give you the scoop on having their works translated for the screen, as well as what it's like to do the same to the work of others. Featuring Eleanor Catton (The Luminaries), Holly Ringland (The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart) and Tom Rob Smith (Child 44) in conversation with Benjamin Law.
Join British chef and restaurateur Asma Khan as she takes you on a culinary journey through her most treasured stories in Ammu: Indian Home-Cooking to Nourish the Soul, a memoir, cookbook and ode to her Kolkata-based mother. She sits down with Annabel Crabb.
Interested in the evolution of fiction, especially now as technological advancements may spell the end of the author as we know it? Listen in as some of the leading names of literature - Eleanor Catton, Richard Flanagan, Tracey Lien and Colson Whitehead - discuss the state of the novel and future of fiction with ABC RN's The Bookshelf's Kate Evans.
Have podcasts completely revitalised storytelling for the 21st century? Join a special line-up of crime podcasters as they dive into podcasting and its influence on the ever-evolving world of journalism. Featuring Patrick Abboud, Kate McClymont, and Hedley Thomas in conversation with 7am's Ruby Jones.
Sunday, 28 May
Share your love for storytelling with renowned illustrator and artist Charmaine Ledden-Lewis (Charlie’s Swim) as she highlights the powerful relationship between images, words, our imagination and storytelling itself.
Be hy-lariously entertained by one of the biggest stars of Australian comedy, Nazeem Hussain, as he explores his first hilarious new children’s book series, Hy-larious Hyena. Joined by illustrator superstar of the hit series, Heath McKenzie, and with Nathan Luff.
Need more wisdom in your modern-day life? Join Paul Callaghan and Brigid Delaney as they examine indigenous spirituality as a deep source of contentment and wellbeing, and how ancient Stoic principles can help us regain a sense of agency and tranquillity. See them in conversation with Ailsa Piper.
Join leading First Nations thinkers Stan Grant and Teela Reid as they ask whether we are entering a new era for Australian democracy. Both with different experiences and perspectives, they explore what it means to be a First Nations person in a country that is yet to reconcile historical wrongs.
Embark on a ground-breaking session documenting mental health with Mohammad Awad, Kristen Dunphy, Nat’s What I Reckon, and Kirli Saunders, alongside editor David Stavanger as they explore writing about mental health from lived experience.
Closing Night: Richard Flanagan
End your Sydney Writers' Festival with an unmissable Closing Night Address by Australian novelist Richard Flanagan of magical realist tale of climate crisis The Living Sea of Waking Dreams and Booker Prize–winning window into the cruelty of war, The Narrow Road to the Deep North. He’ll dive into about the necessity of telling your own stories to shape the future.
Whether you're a lifelong lover of literature or simply curious about the power and future of storytelling, this year’s Sydney Writers Festival is set to give you a truly immersive experience. Experience and learn with the world’s leading writers and intellects as they dive deep into stories for the future.