Preview :: Sydney Writer’s Festival

May 1st 2011

Photo by Prudence Upton

When I was six I swore I would never read again.

This was because Mum had just turned the last page of Enid Blyton's The Magic Faraway Tree, and I couldn't quite accept it. I didn't have room in my head or my heart for any other pages. I loved that book, and I loved eveyone in it. I loved Jo, Bessie and Fanny, and I loved Silky the fairy and Moonface, and I loved that goddamn tree. I wanted to eat pop biscuits and have them explode in to delicious honey in my mouth, and I wanted to slide down the tree's internal slippery dip at the end of our exciting and mildly dangerous adventures.

It's lucky I repealed the self-imposed book ban, because I would have missed out on the upcoming Sydney Writer's Festival (not to mention the superb Sweet Valley Twins series). The week-ish long celebration of all things literary will open its pages on to the Walsh Bay cultural precinct next week, and leaf through venues from Sydney Town Hall to the MCA and out to Penrith.

Featuring over 400 international and Australian writers in over 300 events, the festival is overflowing with options. Here are some of our highlights.

Wednesday 18 May – A Good Leader is Hard to Find, 6pm

ABC veteran Kerry O'Brien couldn't stay away from the mic for too long. He'll Bob Carr, Lenore Taylor, Bob Ellis and friends in a discussion on the crisis of leadership in Australian politics. My Dad will be there, nodding thoughtfully. Will YOU? $20/$15, Sydney Town Hall, 483 George Street

Thursday 19 May – So You Think You Can Write?, 1pm

You won't have to wear stupid costumes or appear on Channel Ten. Think you've got some choice words in you? Pitch your story to an international panel of literary scouts and publishers. Free, Pier 2/3 Club Stage, Pier 2/3, Hickson Road, Walsh Bay

Friday 20 May – Imperial Panda Presents Ghost Stories, 11pm

Everybody's favourite Nick Coyle and Claudia O'Doherty will say boo, and probably some other words as well. Laugh along and pretend you didn't just wet yourself. Wait til everyone leaves so they don't see the patch on your seat. Free, Pier 2/3 Club Stage, Pier 2/3, Hickson Road, Walsh Bay

Saturday 21 May – Talk Back with Pengu