Sydney Writers' Festival is taking place this week from 16–22 May. NewSouth is delighted to have our authors there at a range of exciting events.
Siobhán McHugh, The Power of Podcasting — Sunday 15 May, 2–5pm
Audio storytelling can achieve extraordinary intimacy, largely due to the emotional charge of voice. It can also trigger the imagination, much as good novels do, having the listener co-create pictures in their mind. But to harness the power of narrative podcasts, you have to understand and adapt to the audio medium, which has its own aesthetic logic.
In this workshop, acclaimed podcast producer and critic Siobhán McHugh (author of The Power of Podcasting: Telling stories through sound) will explore the art of audio storytelling, and show how words, voice and sound can combine to make an irresistible story.
Eda Gunaydin, A Critical Eye — Thursday 19 May, 12–1pm
Every new book comes with a host of wildly enthusiastic quotes from early readers hailing the author and/or their work as The Next Big Thing. But what does this hype mean for readers hoping to find their next read? Enter the discerning literary critic, whose expert distillation of a book’s composition helps us to read between the lines and sort the ‘must reads’ from the ‘not for me’s’. Author and winner of the Walkley–Pascall Award for Arts Criticism Delia Falconer (Signs and Wonders: Dispatches from a time of beauty and loss), writer, essayist and poet Declan Fry, and writer and researcher Eda Gunaydin (Root and Branch) discuss the role of literary criticism in a world of hype.
Eda Gunaydin, Holding the Space — Thursday 19 May, 6:30–8:30pm
Place is one of our makers. It shapes who we are and helps us form friendships, our politics, sense of community and identity. Join poet, legal scholar and essayist Alison Whittaker; writer, critic and visual artist Anwen Crawford; and essayist Eda Gunaydin for an evening of stories, provocations and talks about what it means to be here. MC’d by Maeve Marsden. Afterwards, join us for drinks and light refreshments at an afterparty hosted by DJ and performance artist Ilhan Abdi.
Presented by The Finishing School, The Parramatta Artists’ Studios and the Writing and Society Research Centre at Western Sydney University. Supported by the City of Parramatta and Western Sydney University.
Ashley Hay, Seeing Ourselves in Trees: Eucalypts in Literature — Thursday 19 May, 6–7pm
The eucalypt has played an important, complex and at times contentious role in shaping the identity and imaginary of so-called Australia. Ongoing shifts in the role and meaning of the eucalypt come through in the research and writing of Sophie Cunningham, Ashley Hay, Jazz Money and Tony Birch. Join these writers for readings and a conversation in parallel with the current Powerhouse exhibition Eucalyptusdom, which reckons with our cultural history and ever-changing relationship with the gum tree.
Eda Gunaydin, Claire G. Coleman & Eda Gunaydin — Friday 20 May, 12–1pm
Claire G. Coleman and Eda Gunaydin’s latest works of non-fiction draw from lived experience to deliver stark political truths. Claire’s Lies, Damned Lies is a deeply personal exploration of the ongoing trauma of Australia’s violent colonisation, praised as “a vital text that is both unflinching and full of hope” (The Big Issue). Eda’s Root and Branch contributes to a body of work by writers such as Alice Pung and Antigone Kefala in examining the legacies of migration, displacement and diaspora. They speak with Declan Fry about their books and contemporary non-fiction writing.
Eda Gunaydin, Where to From Here? — Friday 20 May, 4–5pm
In recent times, intersecting crises and increased pressures have put many of us into a seemingly impossible state of indecision around our next steps for the future. Many of us are grappling with the gig economy; the implications of having children in a world in environmental crisis; an increasingly unaffordable housing market; and of course, the escalating work–life imbalance. Bridie Jabour (Trivial Grievances), Eda Gunaydin (Root and Branch), Gina Rushton (The Most Important Job in the World) and Amy Thunig wade into the uncertainty, consider the point of it all and discuss how we might navigate our way through.
Elise Bohan, Keeping Tech in Check — Saturday 21 May, 12–1pm
From Siri to medical devices, technology and AI are helping us navigate daily life with greater efficiency and ease. But on the flip side, instances of algorithm bias, questions around who is collecting our data and for what ends, and fears about how technology is degrading public discourse are bringing into focus pressing new ethical dilemmas. Transhumanism scholar Elise Bohan (Future Superhuman: Our transhuman lives in a make-or-break century), AI expert Toby Walsh (Machines Behaving Badly: The Morality of AI) and technologist and Palawa-Trawlwoolway woman Angie Abdilla (co-editor of Decolonising the Digital: Technology as Cultural Practice) examine the promises and perils of tech today, in conversation with creative robotics researcher Belinda Dunstan.
Eda Gunaydin, Open Secrets — Sunday 22 May, 10–11am
What is it that writers do all day? Eda Gunaydin (Root and Branch), Suneeta Peres da Costa (Saudade) and Vanessa Berry (Gentle and Fierce) – all contributors to the Sydney Review of Books’ Open Secrets anthology – join Kate Fagan for a roaming discussion of the working lives of writers. They talk about creative labour, and the day jobs, side gigs and care work that must make space for writing. The writer at work is often mythologised as being distant from the cares of the day, but this panel reflect on the procrastination, distractions and economic precarity inherent in their lives. They reveal how imagination, aesthetics and desire infiltrate their day-to-day work.