Liminal's Top Picks for Sydney Writers' Festival '19



“This May, 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 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.”

Here are our top picks for SWF19!


2 May, 11.30am

Fault Lines

Five phenomenal non-fiction writers come together to discuss why pervasive inequality is one of the great moral issues of our time – and what can be done to reverse growing societal divisions.Join Akala (Natives: Race and Class in the Ruins of Empire), Gabrielle Chan (Rusted Off: Why Country Australia is Fed Up), Beth Macy (Dopesick: Dealers, Doctors, and the Drug Company that Addicted America) and Rick Morton (One Hundred Years of Dirt) together with George Megalogenis as they consider why the fault lines appear to be widening at a time when our capacity to act with rationality and compassion has arguably never been more heightened.


2 May, 1.30pm

Class Acts: Writers on Capitalism

Three of the Festival’s most exciting millennial authors explore how their darkly funny, profoundly moving debut works engage with the excesses of late capitalism. Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah’s stinging satire Friday Black dissects the dehumanising forces of capitalism and racism in America. Ling Ma’s Severance ponders consumerism and globalisation in a New York zombie apocalypse. Ireland’s Caoilinn Hughes examines art, privilege and the meritocracy myth in her hilarious and anarchic Orchid and the Wasp. In conversation with Peter Polites.

2 May, 8.30pm

All the Rage

Two of today’s leading feminist voices and international standouts of this year’s Festival, Brittney Cooper (Eloquent Rage) and Rebecca Traister (Good and Mad) join Jamila Rizvi to celebrate the power of women’s rage as a galvanising force. Canvassing the history of women mobilising in transformative political movements – from suffrage to civil rights and the fault lines exposed more recently by the #MeToo movement – they make a call to anger between allies, reminding us that when harnessed, righteous fury can change history.

3 May, 7pm

Gay For Page 

Sally Rugg greets some of the Festival’s favourites for a celebration of queer literature. Join Alexander Chee, Andrew Sean Greer, Casey Legler, Jordy Rosenberg, Holly Throsby, Niviaq Korneliussen and Bryan Washington as they pick from the canon of queer texts, choosing both out and proud and more ambiguous, between-the-lines stories. In a discussion about texts from The Price of Salt to Harry Potter, the guests reveal their literary crushes, their heroes and the authors who illuminated their paths towards writing. 

4 May, 1.30pm

The Millenial Condition

Millennials have been blamed for everything from the death of the nine-to-five work week to the decline of the diamond industry. Delve beyond the facile headlines with three exuberant and incisive millennial authors as they share insights into the complexities and challenges of their generation. They give their takes on work, home, the economy, bodies and art. Featuring Caoilinn Hughes (Orchid and the Wasp), Ling Ma (Severance) and Fiona Wright (The World Was Whole) in conversation with Lifted Brow and Brow Books publisher Sam Cooney.


5 May, 3pm

Zoya Patel: On Token Ethnic Friends in Pop Culture

No Country Woman author Zoya Patel takes a dive into the enduring cultural phenomenon of the ‘token ethnic friend’. She examines how the entertainment industry continues to pay lip-service to diversity, looking through the lens of characters of colour including Lane Kim from Gilmore Girls and Dionne from Clueless. She also looks at how, when the tables are flipped in movies like Bend it Like Beckham, a white cast member can be afforded more screen time and agency.

Find out more

Leah McIntosh