The festival runs from April 26 to May 2. Here are our picks for the must-see events.
Australian journalists Peter Greste and Annika Smethurst have both been at the centre of press freedom maelstroms. Greste was detained in Egypt following a sham trail in 2019, and Smethurst’s home has been raided by the Australian Federal Police. This Panel discussion moderated by Sally Warhaft will explore current issues and future challenges surrounding press freedom, offering some valuable lessons for both aspiring journalists and media veterans.
Press Freedom is on Thursday April 29 at Carriageworks, Bay 22, 245 Wilson Street, Eveleigh at 10am.
It’s not often you get five Walkley-award-winning journalists in the same room, so this panel discussion on the importance of journalism in representing vulnerable people and communities is essential viewing. Join Kate McClymont, Lorena Allam, Jessica Halloran, Jacqueline Maley and Alan Sunderland for a fascinating look at the role and significance of journalism in making unheard voices heard. There are countless awards and years of experience in this group, so come prepared to absorb as much knowledge as possible.
Journalism: A Voice for the Vulnerable is on Thursday April 29 at Carriageworks, Bay 22, 245 Wilson Street, Eveleigh at 2pm.
Just existing day-to-day can be chaotic, and a career in writing feels even more so. ABC Radio Sydney’s Sarah Macdonald asks a line-up of popular writers how they find time to unwind and keep their minds calm throughout the day. You’ll hear from Julia Baird, Krissy Kneen and Sami Shah as they unpack the ways they find small moments of joy every day. Great tips for anyone who finds themselves getting a little too caught up in their work.
Simple Pleasures is on Friday April 30 at Carriageworks, Bay 22, 245 Wilson Street, Eveleigh at 10am.
Everyone became an armchair scientist in 2020. Epidemiological debates and vaccine chats became the norm, but so did misinformation sprouting up all over the internet. This panel of scientists – Dr Karl Kruszelnicki (Triple J’s Dr Karl), Raina MacIntyre and Alice Motion – will discuss fake news, scientific hearsay online and where to find the facts amongst the fiction. Moderated by the ABC’s Olivia Willis, this fun and fascinating discussion will help you separate fake news from the real thing and teach you the importance of getting the facts from a reliable source.
Science Class is on Friday April 30 at Carriageworks, Track 8, 245 Wilson Street, Eveleigh at 4pm.
Australia’s favourite poet Paul Kelly has spent his life and career telling stories, through music or otherwise. Join Kelly, along with Stan Grant and Alice Keath for a night of music and poetry, and a discussion on the impact written and spoken words have had on their lives. Thought-provoking and a heap of fun, don’t miss this one.
Paul Kelly: Words and Music is on Friday April 30 at Sydney Town Hall, 483 George Street, Sydney at 6pm.
Writing has always played a significant role in shaping our perceptions of race – whether it exacerbates racism or aims to end it. Award-winning author Michael Mohammed Ahmad leads this critical discussion with writers and editors from Aboriginal, Asian, Pasifika and African-American backgrounds: Winnie Dunn, Sydnye Allen, Mark Mariano and Phoebe Grainer.
Writing and Racism is on Sunday May 2 at Carriageworks, Bay 22, 245 Wilson Street, Eveleigh at 10am.
It doesn’t feel right to farewell a festival of any kind without a party, and SWF is no exception. Celebrate the festival’s newest alumni (and everyone who managed to publish something in the midst of a pandemic) at the debutante ball. Red carpet outfits encouraged.
Debutante Ball is on Sunday May 2 at Carriageworks, Bay 22, 245 Wilson Street, Eveleigh at 7pm.
Photography: Jacqui Turk
Sydney Writers Festival runs from April 26 to May 2. You can view the full program here.