Sydney Writer’s Festival

Perhaps I'm moving in different circiles to previous years, because promotion for the Sydney Writer's Festival has largely eluded me this year. The program is issued through the Sydney Morning Herald, typically about a month before the actual Festival (when two weeks before would be perfect); I must have missed that edition, and any advertising of its imminent insertion into said edition.

As one who reads far less than he should, this event is a logophile's delight, and provides annual inspiration for all things literary. This is the Festival's 9th installment, and boasts the notorious Naomi Wolf, the truly wonderful and provoking philosopher Peter Singer, alongside local talent such as Kate Grenville and the icon that is Les Murray.

One regrettable feature of Festival Director Carol Llewellyn's stewardship is the neglect of writers in performance-based fields (e.g. theatre, film). Wonderful plays are written locally and performed to critical acclaim every year in Austalia, but these writers have regularly been shunned by Llewellyn's programming.

Sure, Louis Nowra bobs up each year, and this year the thespians are thrown a bone in the form of a mini-symposium on Samuel Beckett (Bonkers on Beckett). Better than a poke in the eye, but a rather derivative effort in the wake of the rich celebration of Beckett composed in 2003 to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Waiting for Godot. I have a pro-active ambition to involve David Ives in the 2007 Festival, in association with a production by our theatre company. 

Some highlights for the weekend: The New YorkersThe Weapons Detective, and Satire.

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