A message from Artistic Director Michaela McGuire


This has been an extraordinary week! I want to share just a few moments from the Festival.

George Saunders, standing just side of stage before opening night, and reaching over to give Anne Enright a little fist bump for luck.

Stan Grant and Ellen van Neerven, two of Australia’s most important voices, coming together on stage for the first time.

Melina Marchetta, rewriting a chapter from Looking for Alibrandi, casting festival guests, including Pia Miranda, into the new retelling to celebrate the book’s 25th anniversary.

A room full of men – men! At a writers' festival! – listening to Bill Hayes talk about his relationship with Oliver Sacks, weeping quietly at 10am this morning.

A huge room of podcasting supernerds, erupting into applause as Slate's Culture Gabfest’s theme music started playing.

Robert Dessaix in tears, reciting Pushkin in Russian.

Smart and inclusive conversations about queer literature, and the borders of the queer body.

The Booker Prize-winning crew – Anne Enright, Paul Beatty and Richard Flanagan – clinking glasses in the hotel bar late at night.

An audience full of insightful teenagers asking Elaine Welteroth engaged questions about politics and fashion.

Roxane Gay, Miranda Tapsell, Nayuka Gorrie, Ryan Griffen and Colson Whitehead celebrating and interrogating black nerd culture and asking, “Where’s my black, gay dragon slayer?”

Norman Ohler, being congratulated countless times for his Scottish crime fiction novels, and just smiling and nodding by the end of the week, unwilling to reveal his German accent and disappoint Ian Rankin’s fans who thought they’d just met their hero.

Hisham Matar, offering a masterclass of grace and forgiveness in every sentence.

Brit Bennett telling an audience who largely didn’t know who she was, how extraordinary it was for her that her grandmother was illiterate, and yet she’s talking about her book in Sydney. Not only did she talk about her book in Sydney, Australia, but a whole heap of festival-goers just found their new favourite author.

A big thank you to the authors, interviewers and the army of volunteers who have made this Festival possible. Thanks too, to the City of Sydney and Create NSW, as well as our generous donors and supporters, and our Board.

And thanks to you for attending the Festival. We couldn't do it without you.

— Michaela McGuire, Artistic Director


Highlights Gallery: