6 Great Things To See At The Sydney Writers' Festival This Weekend

The Sydney Writers’ Festival is currently underway, reaching a climax this weekend. Here is Business Insider’s suggestions on what to see amid a great program that’s involved more than 400 writers.

Humour and Debauchery with a Few Manners in Between
Friday, May 23, 8:30pm, Sydney Town Hall
Political journalist and kitchen goddess Annabel Crabb kicks off the weekend with Russian immigrant turned US literary celebrity Gary Shteyngart; Sandi Toksvig, one of London’s most loved comedians and broadcasters; and cult author of Trainspotting Irvine Welsh in what promises to be a rowdy, lively and funny session.

The art of indignation
Saturday, May 24
There’s a national battle underway over giving and taking offence, with indignation overtaking rational debate. When being offended ends rather than starts an argument, what are the repercussions for public discourse?
With Peter FitzSimons as ringmaster cartoonist Michael Leunig, Richard King, author of On Offence, Human Rights Commissioner Tim Wilson on why offence is necessary and Neil James, Executive Director of the Plain English Foundation debate offence, rhetoric, argument and civil society.

Reza Alsan: Zealot
Saturday, May 24
Reza Aslan is a scholar of religion. His provocative book, Zealot, a New York Times No. 1 bestseller, challenges the conventional view that Jesus was a peaceful man of God, arguing He was a far more combative figure. His talk promises to be both thought-provoking and confronting.

The Land of the Fair Go or No Go: Has Australia Lost its Soul?
Sunday, May 25
Authors Richard Flanagan (The Narrow Road from the Deep North) and Tom Keneally (Shame and the Captives and A Country Too Far), and cartoonist Michael Leunig (Holy Fool) join ABC RN’s Geraldine Doogue debate the realities and myths of the Australian psyche and our belief in egalitarianism.

Festival Closing Address: Giving Readers What (They Don’t Know) They Want
Sunday, May 25
Room and Frog Music author Emma Donoghue is talking about the transformative powers of literature: the way it invites, provokes, charms, challenges and troubles readers. She shows how writers help change the world, one reader at a time.

Family Day
Sunday, May 25, 10am–3.30pm
Join in the excitement of The Big Top for Little People, the circus-inspired venue where both adults and children can explore and interact with books, authors, writing and craft
Learn to draw like Captain Underpants, have morning tea with your favourite authors and illustrators. Featured authors include Cornelia Funke, Jacqueline Harvey, Deborah Kelly, Jane Godwin, Damon Young, Hilary Bell and Tristan Bancks.

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