After three years of pandemic-related cancellations, disruptions and inconveniences, the Sydney Writers’ Festival returns in May with literary eyes firmly fixed on the future.
When writer Mohsin Hamid was in Australia last year, he suggested that more writers should look ahead. This comment made Ann Mossop, the new artistic director of the festival, prick up his ears. She decided that an important way to think about the future was to engage with different versions presented imaginatively.
“There are a lot of things happening that are pretty dark. We’re thinking about climate change, we’re thinking about war right now, we’re thinking about insecurity,” she said. “That’s why it’s important that we can say what we’re doing in the present that can influence the future.”
Mossop has chosen “Stories for the Future” as the theme for her first festival. It will be the last in a busy month for writers and publishers, with festivals in Melbourne, Bendigo, Brisbane and Margaret River.
“I want us to engage with writers who are talking about what happened in the past, with people who are trying to capture the present,” she said, “because that’s all part of how we create the future and see.”
Guests heading to Carriageworks in late May will include four Booker Prize winners: Bernadine Evaristo, Eleanor Catton, Richard Flanagan and the youngest winner, Shehan Karunatilaka. They will be joined by two-time Pulitzer Prize winner Colson Whitehead. Other international guests include Jenny Odell, Sam Neill, Tom Rob Smith, Nguyen Phan Que Mai, Jason Reynolds, Anthony Joseph, Asma Khan, Peter Frankopan and Daniel Lavery.
Australian authors appearing include Tim Winton, Alexis Wright, Geraldine Brooks, Tracey Lien, Pip Williams, Jane Harper, Grace Chan, Helen Garner, Stan Grant, Grace Tame and many more.
Mossop said the ongoing impact of the pandemic has influenced some writers in their decision not to travel from abroad. But only two authors, British environmental activist George Monbiot and Ukrainian writer Andrey Krukov, are taking part in the festival via video link.
https://www.smh.com.au/culture/books/pulitzer-and-booker-prize-winners-headline-sydney-writers-festival-20230315-p5csd2.html?ref=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_source=rss_culture The Pulitzer and Booker Prize winners run the festival