Out & About Sydney writers festival

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Ignite your intellect, at Sydney Writers’ Festival

With talks about sex, the beginning of the universe and the future of activism, this year’s Sydney Writers’ Festival has all the right ingredients to spark your intellect and fuel your inspiration.

An amalgamation of art, humour, performance and, of course, writing, Sydney Writers’ Festival unites 500 guests from around the world to reflect upon this year’s theme: ‘The art of storytelling.’

“This year, Sydney Writers’ Festival celebrates the simple pleasure of being told a great tale,” says Artistic Director Jemma Birrell.

“Stories lie at the heart of our lives. We need them to understand ourselves, to understand others, to make sense of the world around us. In 2013 we look at the depth and breadth of storytelling from Australia and around the world.”

To kick off the week’s festivities, renowned international storyteller Daniel Morden will open the festival, discussing magic, dark forests, horror and romance.

From May 20 to May 26, viewers will hear from film icons, oral story tellers, fiction writers, script writers, digital strategists, comedians, campaigners, feminists, playwrights, even a bird-watcher/novelist.

Sylvia Nasar, author of A Beautiful Mind, which inspired Russell Crowe’s award-winning mental breakdown, will speak on economic stability in a time of recession, terrorism and rising sea levels.

In a similar vein, political talks on the Obama digital campaign, the Australian election year and the future of activism will be heard. These will involve Barack Obama’s Chief Digital Strategist Joe Rospars, the campaign’s Video Director Stephen Muller, Australian journalist Leigh Sales and former leader of the Greens Bob Brown.

For a little controversy, author of the six book autobiography Min Kamp, Karl Ove Knausgaard will unravel the novel that shocked and fascinated Norway. Renowned physicist and cosmologist Lawrence Krauss will describe his theory on how the Universe began. And philosopher Michael Sandel is to challenge the ethical standard of a world where everything is for sale.

For an exhibition of storytelling brilliance, Anita Desai, one of India’s most loved writers, Carlos Ruiz Zafón, author of The Shadow of the Wind and Claire Messud of The Woman Upstairs, will share the wisdom and inspiration behind their exhilarating works.

And to bring us back to the digital age, Eli Horowitz, creator of The Silent History – a serialized novel for iPhones – will reveal the possibilities in digital creation.

In a live storytelling showcase, Australian talent will take the stage alongside a 5×15 special from London, where five speakers talk for 15 minutes. The five will include talks by Australian hip-hop artist Urthboy and Amelia Lester, Managing Editor of The New Yorker.

As night falls, the illumination continues. The Festival Club features The Chaser team and a selection of writers and musicians, a combination sure to deliver laughter, intellect and a touch of cynicism.

The week of Avant-guard talent will conclude by welcoming London’s Women of the World (WOW) festival to Sydney. To celebrate the strength and creativity of women, Sydney Writers’ Festival and WOW will collaborate to empower and celebrate the talented, brave and inspiring women among us. In this, comedian, writer and mental health activist Ruby Wax and Southbank Centre Artistic Director Jude Kelly will be featured.

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