Sydney Writers’ Festival 2024

Mon 20th May, 2024 – Sun 26th May, 2024
Price: $0 – $75
The harbour city’s celebration of literature and ideas returns with 300 guests, including the author of blockbuster Lessons in Chemistry, beloved authors Ann Patchett and Celeste Ng, reigning Booker Prize winner Paul Lynch, Miles Franklin winners, Hollywood stars and emerging writers. Plus, more than 70 events are free.

More than 300 local and international guests will appear at the 2024 Sydney Writers' Festival (SWF), across 223 free and ticketed events hewing to the theme “Take Me Away”.

The festival kicks off on May 20 and features a poetry performance by Jazz Money, followed by beloved US author Ann Patchett (Tom Lake, The Dutch House) in conversation with journalist Annabel Crabb about the festival theme.

The following night, Patchett will be joined by her friend, Australian author Meg Mason (Sorrow and Bliss) for an evening of storytelling. Bonnie Garmus, author of the bestseller Lessons in Chemistry – which has recently been adapted into a miniseries starring Brie Larson – will talk about sexism and science, while Celeste Ng – whose book Little Fires Everywhere was adapted for TV by Reese Witherspoon – will delve into her dystopian novel, Our Missing Hearts.

Irish author Paul Lynch will be joined by The Monthly editor (and former SWF artistic director) Michael Williams to discuss his 2023 Booker Prize-winning novel Prophet Song. Other international guests include Nobel Prize-winner Abdulrazak Gurnah (Paradise, Afterlives); Pulitzer-winner Viet Thanh Nguyen (The Sympathiser, A Man of Two Faces); Irish author Paul Murray (The Bee Sting, An Evening of Long Goodbyes); and Irish writer Sebastian Barry (The Secret Scripture, A Long Long Way).

Australian voices will speak loudly at this year’s festival, with the majority of the line-up comprised of locals. Miles Franklin-winner Melissa Lucashenko will talk about the themes of her latest novel, Edenglassie: love, romance and colonial myths. Two Australian literary legends, Anna Funder (Stasiland, Wifedom) and Richard Flanagan (Narrow Road to the Deep North, Question 7) will talk about writing in the blurry middle between fiction and non-fiction, and history and memoir. Plus, Dark Emu author Bruce Pascoe and his partner Lyn Harwood will speak about their new book, Black Duck.

Plus, a silver screen sheen comes to the festival, with actors Sam Neill and Bryan Brown taking to the stage. Neill will interview Brown about his new crime novel, The Drowning.

A series of panels will discuss big – and not-so-big – ideas. First Nations’ storytellers Tony Birch, Hannah Donnelly, Laniyuk, Enoch Mailangi and Melanie Saward will gather to tell stories, while playwrights Jane Harrison (The Visitors), Suzie Miller (Prima Facie) and Alana Valentine (Wed by the Wayside) talk about adapting their plays into books.

Other Aussie authors appearing at the festival include Miles Franklin-winner Shankari Chandran (Chai Time at Cinnamon Gardens, Song of the Sun God); Trent Dalton (Boy Swallows Universe, Lola in the Mirror); Julia Baird (Bright Shining, Phosphorescence); Holly Ringland (The House That Joy Built, The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart); Nam Le (The Boat, 36 Ways of Writing a Vietnamese Poem); Charlotte Wood (Stone Yard Devotional, The Natural Way of Things); Madeleine Gray (Green Dot); Bri Lee (The Work, Eggshell Skull); and Jonathan Seidler (It's a Shame About Ray; All the Beautiful Things You Love).

As ever, there is a YA program, and a “family day”. Plus, this year, wannabe attendees who can’t make the festival can watch conversations online with a livestream ticket.

More information here.