Monday musings on Australian literature: If I were going to the Sydney Writers Festival

I’m afraid I don’t have a real Monday musings today. I’m in the process of packing up to leave Toronto later today, so thought I’d just share with you the program from this year’s Sydney Writers Festival. Once again, I don’t expect that I’ll manage to attend. Its timing is always slap-bang in the middle of family celebration time. You know, birthdays, anniversaries and so on.

I was interested to note, in Festival Director Jemma Birrell’s welcome in the program, that she focuses on international guests, such as Vince Gilligan who wrote the television series Breaking bad and the wonderful African-American writer, Alice Walker. That’s great, and I’d particularly love to see Walker. Perhaps it’s polite to mention the guests first, but you have to read quite a way in to discover any of the headline Australian authors who will be appearing. Cultural cringe? Or, just good marketing? Or, good marketing based on our cultural cringe? Or, am I being over-sensitive?

Anyhow, if I were going to the festival, I’d be particularly keen to see the Aussie authors I’ve reviewed here, including:

  • Michelle de Kretser
  • Richard Flanagan
  • Chris Flynn
  • Anita Heiss
  • Hannah Kent
  • Kirsten Krauth
  • Melissa Lucashenko
  • Alexis Wright

… not to mention others I’ve read before or plan to read. And, yes, of course I’d go see some international writers too. After all, they would have come a long way to be here, and the Festival has lured some great people to our shores.

I hope that John at Musings of a Literary Dilettante and Jonathan of Me Fail, I Fly will blog about the Festival as they have in the past. I’ve always enjoyed their takes.

Apologies for today’s quick post, but a travelling litblogger’s life is not an easy one.

18 thoughts on “Monday musings on Australian literature: If I were going to the Sydney Writers Festival

  1. Happy travels and alas I will be missing out on the festival this year once again – but on an up note I’ve just booked a workshop with Cate Kennedy at a short story festival in Vienna this summer! Wonderful no? Am getting stuck into The World Beneath instead of writing…

    • Wonderful, yes, Catherine. I look forward to your report. My reading group has the world beneath on our list of suggestions but it hasn’t quite made the cut yet.

  2. I will definitely be there and blogging, Sue! I’m seeing many of those Aussie authors: Alexis Wright, Richard Flanagan, Alex Miller, Hannah Kent, Fiona McFarlane, the list goes on, as well as Eleanor Catton and others. Looks like I’ll be as busy as a travelling lit blogger! Enjoy your travels. John

  3. A perfect listing of Aussie writers! On the suspicion of “cringe” I think not. Perhaps merely that the other names have already been so often in the headlines this past year – nice to highlight the OS names – especially Alice WALKER. Her magnificent speech to a New York Writers group around the time The Color Purple had made it big is a gem – I still have a cassette tape of it sent by a friend in Taree – when I lived early days in Japan. Where a friend mentioned he was at Yale with Alice WALKER’s daughter. Circularity. Safe travels back to OZ!

    • Thanks Jim … Must try to suss out that speech, perhaps on You Tube. we have made it half way back … Resting up in sunny California for the long flight across the Pacific.

  4. I’m excited as I’m going for the first time this year! I can’t make the main weekend as I’m working, but will be attending a few sessions during the week. Not fully planned at this stage…. There will be blog posts, but probably not same day. I’ve set myself a goal of attending every writers festival in Australia at least once- this will make Melbourne, Mudgee, Sydney.

    • Good for you Louise … I wouldn’t be so brave as to set such a goal, much as I’d like to – hmm, but I suppose a goal isn’t always achieved! I’d love to go to the Byron Bay festival one year.

    • Thanks Karen Lee … Yes, that’s what I think too. I’m sure the organisers are very proud of our writers, but still I’d have liked them mentioned earlier in that welcome page.

  5. I agree with you – that’s what bugs me about the major city festivals: international guests dominate – and always dominate the book sales, too.
    Enjoy Toronto! Great place!

    • Ha ha Stefanie … You’re a tough one!! I will one day …. A friend and I were thinking of doing it this year, squeezing it in between commitments, but then she decided to go on a road trip instead!

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