Sydney Writers’ Festival explores the theme of Refuge with an all-star line up

The program for the 20th Sydney Writers’ Festival was announced at the end of last week – and for those literary types not in Sydney there is going to be some serious festival envy. Taking place across six days from May 22nd to May 28th, the festival boasts over 450 writers taking part in 400 events all tied together under the theme of Refuge.

New Artistic Director Michaela McGuire and her team have curated a program filled with a pretty dazzling array of International and Australian talent, with plenty of award winning authors and writers set to hit Sydney in May. For example, these are just some of this year’s international highlights: Veep show runner Armando Iannucci, 2016 Man Booker Prize winner Paul Beatty, USA National Book Award winner Colson Whitehead, feminist writer Roxane Gay and prize-winning writer Anne Enright. And trust us that is just a tiny selection of a much much larger list.

And Australian writers will of course be well represented, with other 400 writers from around the country taking part. Some of the local highlights include Liane Moriarty, author of the recently adapted Big Little Lies, Jimmy Barnes, Clementine Ford, Miles Franklin award winner A.S. Patric, and the ever popular Andy Griffiths – seriously if you’re bringing your kids expect to queue!

This year’s opening address, on May 23rd, will come from Brit Bennett, Anne Enright and George Saunders. Each of these three celebrated writers will deliver an address on the topic and theme of Refuge. Meanwhile the closing address will be delivered by Pulitzer Prize winning writer Susan Faludi, again exploring the theme of refuge, from the metaphorical shelter of books to basic physical safety many today are hunting for.

The Festival, for the first time ever, will be dedicating a full day of programming to Young Adult fiction at Parramatta’s Riverside Theatres on May 27th. Whilst, on Sunday 28th May the entirety of Walsh Bay’s Pier 4/5 will be transformed into a children’s book wonderland for Family Day.

In 2017 the Live and Local Streaming Program will ensure the festival experience is transported around the country, into 30 community venues, with all states and territories involved.

The Sydney Writers’ Festival runs from May 22nd to May 28th across Greater Sydney. For more information, and to explore the full program and purchase tickets visit HERE


This content has recently been ported from its original home on Arts on the AU and may have formatting errors – images may not be showing up, or duplicated, and galleries may not be working. We are slowly fixing these issue. If you spot any major malfunctions making it impossible to read the content, however, please let us know at editor AT

Simon Clark

Books Editor. An admirer of songs and reader of books. Simon has a PhD in English and Comparative Literature. All errant apostrophes are his own.