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A Message from Sydney Writers’ Festival Artistic Director, Jemma Birrell

This year the theme of Sydney Writers’ Festival is Bibliotherapy, exploring the positive effects of literature. A good festival, like a good book, should bring real-life benefits – joy, solace and a new understanding of the world.

In 2016, Sydney Writers’ Festival has a wide-ranging program covering an array of subjects and genres for adults and children. This year, in particular, there are more events than ever in Parramatta with phenomenal writers and performers coming to Riverside Theatres.

Kerry O’Brien, is one of the highlights. He gives a talk on his bestselling book of conversations with Paul Keating. Keating is a man whose vision transformed the economic and political landscape of Australia and this might just be the only authorised book about his life. He’ll be introduced by the Director of the Whitlam Institute, Eric Sidoti.

Bob Brown gives a special talk about his life and love of nature, bringing in stories from his memoir Optimism and recent book Green Nomads.

The Rumble returns to Riverside Theatres, showcasing young poets from Western Sydney. There’s an extraordinary line up of international guests including: Nate Marshall, who was the star of the award-winning documentary Louder Than a Bomb and has been featured on the HBO series Brave New Voices. Jamila Woods, an American poet, singer and Pushcart Prize nominee who has been called a ‘modern-day Renaissance woman’ by American critics. Sarah Kay, whose TED talk, If I Should Have a Daughter has been watched online over 7 million times. And Phil Kaye, who joins Sarah, and is also a leading voice in American spoken word. This event is not to be missed and also features Australian champion Phil Wilcox with WordTravels’ Miles Merrill hosting.

This May we’re showcasing the leading writers of our time in Parramatta. I hope you join us for this celebration of ideas, discussion, laughter and debate.

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