There is so much to like about the Sydney Writers Festival this year. First of all this year’s theme – “Lie to me”.
This is what the artistic director Michaela McGuire has to say about the theme:
“In the second season of the greatest television show ever made, Buffy the Vampire Slayer learns a hard lesson about who she can really trust. At the end of the episode, as she’s standing bereft and betrayed over a friend’s fresh grave, her most trusted confidant asks Buffy how he can possibly reassure her. She responds simply: “Lie to me”.
“These three words,” says Michaela, “convey so much. They’re an admission of helplessness and complicity; a plea; a dare; a request for a bedtime story in a world full of monsters.”
In four days, hundreds of the world’s most exciting writers will gather in Sydney to examine the white lies and deceptions that are necessary for survival, and malicious lies that are spun with a darker intent. They’ll explore the ways that writing can be used to deceive others in an increasingly post-truth world, look at the lies that we tell ourselves and each other, and those we collectively tell as a country.
There is an impressive line-up of writers – Markus Zusak of The Book Thief, Leigh Sales of Any Ordinary Day, Graeme Simsion of The Rosie Project (and now of The Rosie Result) and George Saunders the author of nine books, including the novel Lincoln in the Bardo, which won the Man Booker Prize.
I am particularly interested in Fatima Bhutto (niece of former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto), who is doing the closing address and Alexander Chee of How to Write an Autobiographical Novel.
The festival is on from Monday, 29 April till Sunday, 5 May a must-go event on any aspiring writer’s calendar.