9 May 2007

A city transformed… by words!

by Matt Rubinstein at 5:14 pm

swf.jpgThis year’s Sydney Writers’ Festival is on in about three weeks and it looks like a cracker. This is being billed as the 10th annual one—it’s older than that but really took off when it moved to Walsh Bay in 1998. I was there that year, a bit out of my depth—but I’m back again this year. It’s a stunning location and a great place to hang around. It does get crowded, even now that it’s spilled into a bunch of other venues around town and beyond—in fact, way beyond—but that’s very encouraging.

I’m looking forward to Andrew O’Hagan, whose Personality is a beautiful study of fame and loneliness; to Richard Ford, whose celebrated The Sportswriter I am determined to read in the next couple of weeks; and to Ayaan Hirsi Ali, if I can snarf a ticket from somewhere. Richard Dawkins is kvetching via satellite, and there’s an impressive panel on Writing in an Age of Terror, plus a debate over whether the balance between national security and human rights was “right” in the case of David HicksBret Walker SC and Lex Lasry QC say no, Gerard Henderson says sure, why not? It’s a clash of the titans!

I’m involved in the following events:

Concertos, Gospels and A Little Rain On Thursday
Tuesday, May 29 2007, 11:30 – 12:30
Carrington Hotel, Blue Mountains

Hear some of the best new Australian writing as Jo Gardiner, Emily Maguire and Matt Rubinstein talk with Varuna’s Creative Director Peter Bishop about their new novels and the intimate lives of us.

Books in the Digital Age
Friday, June 1 2007, 17:00 – 18:00
SDC 1

Digital media is the new black, but what does it means for books? Google intends to scan every book ever published, and to make the full texts searchable, in the same way that Web sites can be searched on the company’s engine. Discussing what the digital age means for books and copyright are Sherman Young, Michael Fraser and Matt Rubinstein.

The 15 fame-filled minutes of the fanzine writer
Sunday, June 3 2007, 12:30 – 13:30
Bangarra Theatre

Now that the Blog Age has advanced the status of fanzine from the work of an individual with access to a photocopier to global proportions and even fame, will we see the rise of a new generation of authors whose work may not ever make it into print? Does it mean better quality writing? Or just more typing? Matt Rubinstein, Rachel Hills and Andrew Mueller discuss.

Literary Mysteries
Sunday, June 3 2007, 15:30 – 16:30
Bangarra Mezzanine

A translator and linguist uncovers a manuscript written in the crypt of an old stone church in Sydney. A priceless exhibition of the papers of poet Emily Dickinson goes missing on arrival in Sydney and a lonely single father starts to follow the newspaper articles about the theft. Matt Rubinstein and Mark Ragg talk about their literary mysteries set on Sydney’s streets.

Come along, it’ll be great!

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