Sydney Writers Festival

One of Australia’s best-loved forums for literature, ideas and storytelling, Sydney Writers’ Festival will stream its headline events from Carriageworks in Sydney direct to The Empire Theatre's Lounge Bar from Friday 3 May to Sunday 5 May. 

Prepare to be stimulated and engaged by conversations, debates and discussions, as the Festival brings the world’s finest authors to Empire Theatre in real time via digital live-streaming project, Live & Local. As well as hearing new ideas from great thinkers, audiences have the opportunity to participate in Q&A sessions at each event, sending questions direct to the Sydney stage. This event is FREE.


For more information regarding the Live and Local streaming, visit the Sydney Writers Festival Live and Local webpage. 

Live & Local streaming lineup: 


Session 1- 10am

Leigh Sales: Any Ordinary Day 

In a special event, Walkley Award-winning anchor of ABC’s 7.30 Leigh Sales sheds light on Any Ordinary Day, her layered exploration of how ordinary people endure unthinkable tragedy.

Session 2- 11.30am

Is Russia the Enemy We've Come to Believe

Presenters: Tom Switzer & Graeme Gill  |  Facilitator: Monica Attard 

In our hurry to decry Putin, are we fuelling hatred and fostering misunderstanding? Political adviser Tom Switzer and Emeritus Professor Graeme Gill debate the legitimacy of the Russian threat, in conversation with former Russian Correspondent Monica Attard.

Session 3- 1.30pm 

Can you Spot a Liar?

Presenters: Matthew Condon, Kate McClymont, Calum Smith | Facilitator: Chris Taylor 

We lie to protect ourselves or others. We lie to avoid consequences. We lie to be cruel. Sometimes, we lie just because we can. Chris Taylor talks to three people who detect lies for a living.


Session 4 - 3pm 

Ben Quilty: Home

In conversation with Julian Burnside QC, Archibald Prize–winning artist Ben Quilty talks about the heartbreaking and awe-inspiring collection of artworks, Home: Drawings by Syrian Children.

Session 5- 4.30pm 

David Marr: My Country 

One of Australia’s finest journalists and public intellectuals, David Marr talks about his definitive collection and illuminating chronicle of our times, My Country, with Sally Warhaft.



Session 1- 11.30am 

The Kingdom & The Power: Saudi Arabia 

Presenters: Manal al-Sharif, Ms Saffaa  | Facilitator: Sophie McNeill 

Since becoming Saudi Arabia’s crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman has pushed a new public relations vision of a country in which women are free to drive, attend sporting matches and enjoy live music. But the arrest and torture of feminist activists, oppression of queer people, enduring male-guardianship laws and murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi reveal a darker truth. 

Session 2- 1.30pm 

Whose ABC? 

Presenters: Mark Scott, Jonathan Holmes, Marc Fennell, Margaret Simmons  | Facilitator: Sally Warhaft 

Sally Warhaft discusses the future of the ABC with former ABC managing director Mark Scott, On Aunty author and former Media Watch host Jonathan Holmes, host of ABC’s Download This Show and SBS VICELAND’s The Feed Marc Fennell and journalist Margaret Simons.


Session 3- 3pm 

Jenny Erpenbeck: Go, Went, Gone

Presenters: Jenny Erpenbeck  |  Facilitator: Michell de Kretser 

“Europe’s outstanding literary seer” (The Guardian) Jenny Erpenbeck joins Michelle de Kretser to discuss Go, Went, Gone, Jenny’s vividly drawn response to the current refugee crisis. 


Session 4 - 4.30pm 

Boys to Men: The Masculinity Crisis

Presenters: Adam Liaw, Clementine Ford  |  Facilitators: Jan Fran 

Jan Fran talks to Clementine Ford and Adam Liaw about the harm toxic masculinity inflicts on men and women, and how we can raise our boys to be better men.



Session 1 - 10am 

A Dangerous Time to Tell the Truth 

Presenters: Dunya Mikhail, Ece Temelkuran, Anabel Hernandez  |  Facilitator: Sophie McNeil 

Sophie McNeill talks with Mexican reporter Anabel Hernández, Iraqi-American writer Dunya Mikhail and Turkish journalist Ece Temelkuran about the mounting threats to reporters around the globe.


Session 2- 11.30am 

Meg Wolitzer: The Female Persuasion 

Angela Ledgerwood sits down with bestselling author Meg Wolitzer (The Wife) to discuss Meg’s timely, witty and ontarget novel The Female Persuasion, which charts the course of women’s lives from the 1970s to now.

Session 3- 1.30pm 

Belonging: The Story of the Jews 

Presenter: Simon Schama  | Facilitator: Paul Holdengraber

Hugely popular historian Simon Schama talks about his towering achievement, Belonging: The Story of the Jews 1492-1900 with revered interviewer Paul Holdengräber.


Session 4- 3pm 

Andrew Sean Greer: Less 

Literary sensation Andrew Sean Greer discusses Less, his Pulitzer Prize–winning satire of the literary world, love and the midlife crisis, in conversation with David Marr.


Session 5 - 4.30pm 

"I Do Not Want to See This in Print" 

Presenters: Niki Savva, Samantha Maiden, Sharri Markson  | Facilitator: Annabel Crabb 

Annabel Crabb discusses the fraught and sensitive relationship between politicians and the press with Walkley Award winner Sharri Markson, veteran political reporter Samantha Maiden and The Australian columnist Niki Savva.


Session 6 - 6pm 

Closing Address: Fatima Bhutto 

Internationally lauded Pakistani writer Fatima Bhutto (The Runaways) delivers an unmissable Festival closing address about the tectonic shifts occurring in global politics and on ideas of race, sexuality and gender.


Buy Tickets
Friday 3 May- Sunday 5 May Friday 3 May- Sunday 5 May Ended
The Lounge Bar


Bookings not required