Iglu Students Sydney and Brisbane

Sydney Writers' Festival

See the English language taken to brand new heights at the ever-popular Sydney Writers’ Festival.

If there’s one thing nearly all students have in common, it’s a desire to improve their writing skills. Practice is the key but reading can also help a lot, and you don’t have to restrict yourself to course material. One of the best places to find interesting things to read this month – and the chance to meet the journalists and authors who wrote them – is the Sydney Writers Festival: a weeklong series of literary events held at various locations in and around the city that kicks off mid-May.

The headline events for the 2012 Sydney Writers’ Festival will take place at heritage listed Wharf 4 and 5 at Walsh Bay near the southern pavilion of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Other events will be held at Sydney Town Hall, City Recital Hall, the Sydney Opera House, The Mint and various suburban locations including Ashfield, Auburn, Blacktown and the Blue Mountains.

Leading the impressive line-up of Australian and international authors speaking at this year’s festival are Jeffrey Eugenides, author of The Virgin Suicides, Jeff Kinney, author of Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Libyan novelist Hisham Matar, celebrity chef Tony Bilson, BBC journalist Nick Bryant and comedian Wendy Harmer.

The Sydney Writers’ Festival is also a great place to learn about politics in Australia. On Sunday May 20 at the Sydney Theatre at Walsh Bay, Queensland politician Bob Katter will talk about his book An Incredible Race of People; he will be joined by former Australian Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd.

Novelist Kathy Lette will talk about feminism at 11.30pm on the same day, while bestselling Aboriginal author Anita Heiss will talk about race across Australia at 11.30pm on May 17. Most of these events are ticketed, but the festival also hosts a number of great free events.

There will also be film screenings, walking tours, exhibitions, panel discussions and live music – more than 300 events featuring some 400 speakers and performers in what Sydney Writers Festival Artistic Director Chip Rolley describes as “a week to stimulate, move, inspire and provoke”.

For a detailed schedule of events and tickets, visit www.swf.org.au.

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