Upcoming events: Three must see talks presented by the Sydney Writers’ Festival this November

Three compelling talks presented by the Sydney Writers’ Festival not to be missed this November:

Literary powerhouse couple Micahel Chabon and Ayelet Waldman interview each other on family and creativity; Pulitzer Prize-winning Geraldine Brooks talks about her new book The Secret Chord and Australian of the Year Rosie Batty chats about her new memoir, A Mother’s Story.

Michael Chabon and Ayelet Waldman In Conversation

Join this power couple of American literature as they interview each other on family and creativity. Find out how their partnership extends across various aspects of their lives, from raising children, to making marriage work and balancing their literary endeavours.

Tuesday November 3, 7.30pm / Seymour Centre, York Theatre / Discover more

Michael Chabon and Ayelet Waldman copy

Geraldine Brooks: The Secret Chord

Kate Evans interviews one of Australia s most celebrated literary icons, Geraldine Brooks. The Pulitzer Prize-winning author of  People of the Book, Year of Wonders and March will speak about her new book, The Secret Chord, a compelling portrait of a morally complex hero.

Monday November 3, 6pm /
Seymour Centre, York Theatre / Discover more

Geraldine Brooks 2

Rosie Batty: A Mother’s Story

Hear from one of Australia s most courageous women, Australian of the Year, Rosie Batty, as she speaks with Tracey Spicer about her profoundly moving and inspiring life and new memoir, A Mother’s Story.

Monday 9 November, 8.30pm / Seymour Centre, York Theatre / Discover more

Rosie Batty 2

MAN BOOKER WINNER: Marlon James’ A Brief History of Seven Killings wins the 2015 Man Booker Prize

1114-MarlonJames_640x640Marlon James has become the first Jamaican author to win the coveted Man Booker Prize with his incredible novel A Brief History of Seven Killings, a masterfully written novel that explores the attempted assassination of Bob Marley in the late 1970s.

James says ‘The Booker is that thing you hear about, and it just shapes your writing. This is so surreal. I feel like I’m going to wake up or fall into a barrage of tears.’

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The novel begins in 1976 as seven men storm Bob Marley’s house with machine guns blazing. The reggae superstar survives, but leaves Jamaica the following day, not to return for two years.

Inspired by this near-mythic event, A Brief History of Seven Killings is an imagined oral biography, told by ghosts, witnesses, killers, members of parliament, drug dealers, conmen, beauty queens, FBI and CIA agents, reporters, journalists, and even Keith Richards’ drug dealer.

Marlon James’s dazzling novel is a tour de force. It traverses strange landscapes and shady characters, as motivations are examined – and questions asked – in a masterpiece of imagination.

Grab your copy of A Brief History of Seven Killings here

5 Must See Events at the 2015 Sydney Jewish Writers Festival


My Grandfather Would Have Shot Me: In Conversation with Jennifer Teege

avatar.jpg.320x320pxAccidentally discovering she was the granddaughter of Amon Goeth, the brutal Nazi commandant depicted in Schindler’s List, shook German-Nigerian author Jennifer Teege to the core.

Grappling with the haunted past of a perpetrator, the secrets and denial, she embarked on an extraordinary journey of soul-searching to Poland and Israel. She shares her astounding true story and eventual ‘liberation’.

Sunday, August 30 • 5:45pm – 6:45pm

Main Hall (Waverley Library, Bondi Junction)


TV espionage: In Conversation with the creator of Homeland, Prisoners of War & Dig

avatar.jpg.320x320px (1)Gideon Raff wowed audiences worldwide with the gripping and gritty realism of his acclaimed series, the Israeli Prisoners of War (Hatufim) and US adaptation Homeland.

As art eerily imitated life, millions of viewers were confronted for the first time with a messy, brutal and honest representation of the Middle East and America’s war on terror. He brought Israel to mainstream television again with his recent production, Dig. He shares his insights and the story behind his success.

Sunday, August 30 • 3:15pm – 4:15pm

Main Hall (Waverley Library, Bondi Junction)


I love a complex country: Views on Israel

avatar.jpg.320x320px (4)Israel excites, inspires, and vexes. As their hearts beat for Israel, Gideon Raff, Jennifer Teege and one of the world’s foremost experts on Hebrew and Israeli literature Dr Dvir Abramovich, offer their unique vantage points of a country filled with love and loss.

Their distinctive journeys take us over the noise of start-ups, felafel and conflict, to illuminate Israel’s complexities. Three writers reflect on ‘her beauty and her terror’ of a country that stirs our soul.

Saturday, August 29 • 8:30pm – 10:00pm

Main Hall (Waverley Library, Bondi Junction)


The silence of injustice

avatar.jpg.320x320px (3)In Iran, a doctor is considered a criminal for saving lives, and a woman who falls in love is breaking the rules. In Australia, a young Somali man is incarcerated for a terrible crime he did not commit. What hope is there in the face of such prejudice?

Award-winning writers Dr Kooshyar Karimi and Julie Szego discuss how the power of culture and the perils of silence perpetuate injustice.

Sunday, August 30 • 4:30pm – 5:30pm

Main Hall (Waverley Library, Bondi Junction)


Schmoozing in the Eastern Suburbs

avatar.jpg.320x320px (2)From the Hungarian cafes of Double Bay to the mansions of Point Piper, two authors expose the inner workings of two unique subcultures in the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney. They immerse readers in an intimate world of relationships, scandal, gossip and lies, interspersed with champagne and goulash.

Society columnist Ros Reines and novelist Eva Novy will amuse and delight you with the stories of worlds unknown, right at our doorstep.

Sunday, August 30 • 5:45pm – 6:45pm

Theatrette (Waverley Library, Bondi Junction)


For more details about this year’s Sydney Jewish Writers Festival head to www.sjwf.org.au

2015 Mudgee Readers’ Festival to kick off this weekend!

The Mudgee Readers’ Festival – now in its sixth year – will welcome a number of big-name authors this weekend.

The line-up includes Don Watson, Ramona Koval, Clare Wright, Steven Carroll, Debra Oswald, Wayne Macauley, Bernard Keane and Emily Rodda.

‘Our aim is to run an event that is warm and friendly, and welcoming to all readers. We are so fortunate to have such an incredible line-up of authors coming to Mudgee this year. Whether you have read the books or not, heard of the authors or not, you will be entertained, inspired and informed. The Mudgee Readers’ Festival brings you some wonderful minds and definitely some of the best talent Australia has to offer.’

Susie Bennett, Chair of MRF said at the program launch

The festival will feature in-depth interviews and panel discussions with authors such as Antonia MurphyRobyn CadwalladerAnna George and Peter Watt. A festival favourite – the Long Lazy Lunch – returns on the Sunday, this year with former host of the ABC Radio National Book Show Ramona Koval.

This year the festival has partnered with literary journal Seizure to host Rant, a dinner event on the Saturday night. Rant will be hosted by Seizure’s David Henley and will feature a stellar collection of authors sharing their thoughts about a topic that really gets their goat. Other feature events – free and open to the public – include a huge second hand book fair on the Saturday, new book sales and signings by the authors across the weekend and a regional author feature, Write Around NSW, on Sunday morning. Young readers will get their own special event with popular author Emily Rodda.

Purchase tickets online through Mudgee Region Tourism.


Booktopia’s John Purcell amongst the big names appearing at the 2015 Bendigo Writers Festival

Booktopia’s resident Book Guru and bestselling author John Purcell heads up an all-star lineup at this year’s Bendigo Writers Festival.

John Marsden, Bob Brown, Alice Pung, Graeme Simsion, John Clarke, Cate KennedyRobert Dessaix, Don Watson, Ellie MarneyLatika Bourke, David Astle, David M Henley, Max Gillies, Paddy O’Reilly, Robyn Davidson, Tariq Ali and The Gourmet Farmer’s Matthew Evans are just a few of the big names featuring in this year’s Bendigo Writers Festival.

Now in its fourth year, the Bendigo Writers Festival has become famous for the close access readers can experience with some of literature’s freshest thinkers, taking place in the heart of Bendigo’s View Street arts precinct.

The festival features more than 70 events in five venues across the August 8 and 9 weekend, from 9.30am on Saturday through to 5.30pm on Sunday.

For more details and to see the full program, go to www.bendigowritersfestival.com.au


The 35th Annual Ernest Hemingway look-alike contest

They love it when you call them Big Papa.

Wally Collins is congratulated after winning the 2014 Papa title.

Wally Collins wins the 2014 Papa title.

Around this time every year Key West is set upon by mature, heavy-set men with full beards in khakis.


It’s time for the annual Ernest Hemingway look-alike contest!

Hemingway lived in Key West during the 1930s and local bar Sloppy Joe’s, where Hemingway would often be found holding up the bar, has been holding the contest for an incredible 35 years. Around 125 entrants are expected to jostle for ‘The Papa’.

Sloppy Joe’s says it is “looking for mature, heavy-set men with a full beard”, but adds that “several young lookalikes have participated, and some have actually made it to the finals.”

It warns contestants: “Know your competition. The lookalikes arrive in Hemingway garb. Some wear safari outfits, khakis, and even the excruciatingly hot fisherman’s woollen turtleneck sweater. Some bring their own cheering squad. Most contestants admit (confidentially) that they may never win, but return year after year for the fellowship.”

The lookalike competition is just one part of a week long Papa-palooza that rains down upon at Key West every year, with Marlin fishing and short story competitions, readings, book signings and a “running of the bulls” event.

Click here for all things Hemingway

The 2015 Sydney Writer’s Festival In Focus – Andrew’s Highlights

Can you hear that?

Pages being briskly bookmarked, notepads scribbled on frantically, publicists sweating over author schedules…

The Sydney Writer’s Festival is nearly here!

And because I’m getting all excited, I’ve picked out some of my highlights for the 2015 edition, take a gander. For more details head to www.swf.org.au

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