Fresh, thoughtful journalism and creative works produced by students
of the School of Art, Communication and English at the University of Sydney.

Sydney Writers Festival 2024 set to take readers away

The Sydney Writers Festival (SWF) this year will run from 20–26 May featuring books on diverse topics from 300 international and local writers.

The festival book fair will include author meet-and-greets and book signings as well as 223 free and ticketed events ranging from talk shows and debates to poetry slams.  This year’s festival events will be held at various locations including Carriageworks, Sydney Town Hall, City Recital Hall, and The State Library of NSW.

SWF’s arts director Ann Mossop said this year’s festival offers “strong programs of Australian writers” and “a real return to having lots of wonderful international guests coming in” post-Covid.

The theme “Take Me Away”, encapsulates the idea that “books take us away from our daily life, and take us into the lives of other people”, Mossop said.

“Books are a form of escape, but also a way of knowing and understanding things differently from the point of view of somebody else.

“They show us how to change the world, in a sense that it presents us with a different world from what we would like to see.”

Book lovers shopping at the book fair. Photo: Sydney Writers Festival

Asked how this year’s SWF will differ from previous years, the arts director said this year’s festival displays a larger “breadth” of topics and writers.

“What we’re doing every year is creating a way for writers and audiences to connect. It’s all about refining that,”she said.

“This year, we’ve got playwrights, journalists, war photographers, people who write about food, fantasy writers.

“There’s a really big range of writing experiences people are talking about. It’s really about honoring that breadth of what people are interested in.”

Also on offer this year is the new “Live and Local” program with live streams of selected events.

Speaking of the selection of writers and books this year, Mossop said it’s “more than just about [choosing] what is being published in time” but also “important ideas that need to be discussed”.

Book signing at Carriageworks. Photo: Sydney Writers Festival

Mossop said she hopes those who attend the festival can experience “different ideas, different stories, different people”.

“If you go and see somebody whose work you already love, just seeing them talk about things that already matter to you is a great pleasure,” she said.

“But there’s something very special about going to see somebody you know nothing about, and actually finding out about something completely new.

“So I really hope people come down to the festival, either come with friends or meet up with them there, or even just talk to other people in the coffee queue about what you thought about x, y, z.”

Future plans will see SWF’s collaboration with the State Library to host more events year-round. SWF also looks forward to “expanding” their digital reach.

The Sydney Writers Festival runs from May 20 to 26. 


Sharon Wongosari
Sharon Wongosari
Sharon Wongosari is a first-year student at the University of Sydney studying Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Advanced Studies (Media and Communications), majoring in Media and Communications and Project Management. With large enthusiasm for writing and video production, she hopes to pursue a career in journalism.

Want fresh, thoughtful journalism in your inbox? Subscribe to Salience.