Sydney Writers' Festival
|Sydney Writers' Festival|
|Location(s)||Sydney, New South Wales, Australia|
The festival began in January 1997, with most events initially held at the State Library of New South Wales. The first independent Sydney Writers' Festival ran from 12–17 May 1998, with 169 participants appearing in venues in, and around, the centre of Sydney.
Since then, the festival has rapidly expanded. Held mid-to-late May each year, the festival now involves over 400 participants and presents over 300 events in renovated piers in Walsh Bay, Sydney. Other festival locations include Sydney Theatre, Sydney Town Hall, City Recital Hall, and Sydney Opera House. Events are also regularly held in regional and suburban locations including Parramatta, Ashfield, Auburn, Blacktown, Bankstown, Campbelltown, Hornsby, Penrith, the Blue Mountains, and Wollongong.
Approximately one third of all Sydney Writers' Festival events are free of charge. Festival attendances have reached over 80,000 each year since 2007.
Sydney Writers' Festival Limited is a not-for-profit company with an independent board of directors. The inaugural Chair of the Festival was Geraldine Doogue, who held the position for three years. Sandra Yates AO [hyperlink] became Chair in late 2000, retiring on 31 December 2011. Deena Shiff became Chair on 1 January 2012. The Festival Director in 1998 was John Nieuwenhuizen, with Meredith Curnow the Program Director. Meredith Curnow became Festival Director for the period 1999–2002. Caro Llewellyn was Artistic Director and Chief Executive from 2003–2006. Wendy Were was Artistic Director and CEO for the three festivals, from 2007–2009. Chip Rolley became the festival's Artistic Director in the middle of 2009, programming the 2010, 2011 and 2012 festivals. In 2013, Jemma Birrell was appointed as the festival's new artistic director. Ben Strout was the festival's Executive Director from 2009-2014. The festival appointed Jo Dyer as Executive Director in 2015.
Past international guests
Past guests have included:
- 1999 – Alan Duff, and Peter Porter
- 2002 – Jodi Picoult, Lloyd Jones, Giles Milton and Neil Hanson
- 2003 – Antony Beevor, Jonathan Franzen, Catherine Millet, Janette Turner Hospital, Nicholas Shakespeare, and CK Stead
- 2004 – Alan Bennett, Alain de Botton, Hilary Mantel, Tim Krabbe, Susanna Moore, Jane Campion, Louis de Bernières, Salam Pax, John W. Dean, Harvey Pekar, Alexei Sayle, ZZ Packer, and David Sedaris
- 2005 – Lewis Lapham, Alan Hollinghurst, Deirdre Bair, Professor Harold Bloom, Tariq Ali, David Suzuki, Jared Diamond, Suad Amiry, Michael Winter, Colin McAdam and Miriam Toews
- 2006 – Naomi Wolf, Anna Politkovskaya, Michael Burleigh, Andy Borowitz, Susan Orlean, Aleksandar Hemon, Hendrik Hertzberg, Mark Danner, Haifa Zangana, John Banville, Edmund White, and Maya Angelou
- 2007 – Andrew O'Hagan, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Bei Dao, Will Hutton, Antony Beevor, William Dalyrmple, Lionel Shriver, Richard Ford, Andrei Makine, Rachel Seiffert, Mohsin Hamid and Steven Hall
- 2008 – Jon Lee Anderson, Andrew J. Bacevich, Michael Pollan, John Gray, and Jeanette Winterson
- 2009 – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Alex Ross, and Kazuo Ishiguro
- 2010 – John Carey, Colm Tóibín, Lionel Shriver, Yiyun Li, John Ralston Saul, Bill McKibben, and Raj Patel
- 2011 – Ingrid Betancourt, Howard Jacobson, A. A. Gill, Anthony Bourdain, Téa Obreht, Izzeldin Abuelaish, Kei Miller, Kader Abdolah, Michael Cunningham, David Mitchell, AC Grayling, Michael Connelly, Gail Dines, and Daniel Altman
- 2012 – Hisham Matar, Jeffrey Eugenides, Dava Sobel
- 2013 – Molly Ringwald, Ruby Wax, Claire Messud
- 2014 – Irvine Welsh, Vince Gilligan, Alice Walker
- 2015 – Michael Connelly, Anthony Horowitz, Douglas Coupland, Norman Doidge, Alan Cumming, Atul Gawande, David Walliams, Michael Frayn, James Patterson (out of season event)
Past local guests
- 1997 – Robert Dessaix, Andrew McGahan, Matthew Condon, Bernard Cohen, Christos Tsiolkas, and Gillian Mears
- 2001 – Lee Tulloch
- 2002 – Geoffrey Atherden and Bernard Cohen
- 2003 – Sonya Hartnett, David Malouf, Danny Katz, and Louis Nowra
- 2005 – Bob Carr and John Kinsella
- 2006 – Alex Miller, Robert Drewe, Kate Grenville, Les Murray, Tegan Bennett Daylight, Peter Singer, Tim Flannery and Gail Jones
- 2007 – Raimond Gaita
- 2008 – Mem Fox, Peter van Onselen, Michelle de Kretser, Gail Jones, and Drusilla Modjeska
- 2010 – Peter Carey, Les Murray, Alex Miller, Ross Garnaut, and Clive Hamilton
- 2011 – Suelette Dreyfus, Annette Shun Wah, and David Hicks
- 2012 – Kathy Lette
- 2013 – Claudia Karvan, Brendan Cowell
- 2014 – Christos Tsiolkas, Michelle de Kretser, Robert Dessaix
- 2015 – Richard Flanagan, Annabel Crabb, Leigh Sales, Helen Garner, David Malouf, Les Murray, Andy Griffiths, Julia Gillard (out of season event)
- 2011 James Gleick 'Perish the thought'
- 2012 Dava Sobel
- 2013 Claire Messud
- 2014 Emma Donoghue
- 2014 Helen Macdonald
The Festival is organised by the artistic director, with the support of the Executive Director, who both report to the Board of Sydney Writers' Festival. The current directors of the Festival are:
- Deena Shiff (Chair)
- Peter Collins
- Guy Hedley
- Elizabeth Johnstone
- David Marr
- Lena Nahlous
- Kathy Shand
- Emile Sherman
- List of festivals in Australia
- New South Wales Premier's Literary Awards
- Man Booker International Prize – 2011
- Dessaix, Robert (24 January 1997). "After The Plague". The Sydney Morning Herald (Fairfax Media). Retrieved 28 May 2011.
- Tom, Emma (11 January 1997). "The Best Young Australian Novelists 1997". The Sydney Morning Herald (Fairfax Media). Retrieved 28 May 2011.
- "Alan Duff on Both Sides of the Moon". Book Talk on Radio National. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 22 May 1999. Retrieved 28 May 2011.
- "Program Summaries and Transcripts". Books and Writing on Radio National. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 1999. Retrieved 28 May 2011.
- "Events". Festival News 2002. University of Technology Sydney. 2002. Retrieved 23 May 2011.
- "Program Summaries and Transcripts". Books and Writing on Radio National. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 2002. Retrieved 28 May 2011.
- "Highlights from Festival 2003". Festival 2003. Sydney Writers' Festival. 2003. Retrieved 23 May 2011.
- "Highlights from Festival 2004". Festival 2004. Sydney Writers' Festival. 2004. Retrieved 23 May 2011.
- "Highlights from Festival 2005". Festival 2005. Sydney Writers' Festival. 2005. Retrieved 24 May 2011.
- "Highlights from Festival 2006". Festival 2006. Sydney Writers' Festival. 2006. Retrieved 24 May 2011.
- "Highlights from Festival 2007". Festival 2007. Sydney Writers' Festival. 2007. Retrieved 24 May 2011.
- "Highlights from Festival 2008". Festival 2008. Sydney Writers' Festival. 2008. Retrieved 4 June 2011.
- "Highlights from Festival 2009". Festival 2009. Sydney Writers' Festival. 2009. Retrieved 24 May 2011.
- "Highlights from Festival 2010". Festival 2010. Sydney Writers' Festival. 2010. Retrieved 23 May 2011.
- "Festival Nights". Festival 2012. Sydney Writers' Festival. 2012. Retrieved 19 April 2012.
- Haroldson, Peter. "Sydney Writers’ Festival 2013". Sydney Life. Destination New South Wales. Retrieved 18 December 2013.
- "Program Summaries and Transcripts". Books and Writing on Radio National. Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 2001. Retrieved 28 May 2011.
- "Highlights". Festival 2012. Sydney Writers' Festival. 2012. Retrieved 19 April 2012.
- Official Sydney Writers' Festival Site
- Sydney Writers Walk
- Sydney Writers' Festival – Katoomba Program