By Lauren Gui

Jonathan Franzen does not disappoint.

As he takes the stage, Franzen pauses for a few moments to gaze quizzically around the room before wryly addressing the crowd: “This is a grand hall.” Instantly, I take a fond liking to him, especially since Franzen’s sentiments about Twitter beautifully encapsulate my own: “Twitter is unspeakably irritating.”

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By Angelina Kosev and Tom St John

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The sun is bright, the crowd is plentiful, there are children running around and the sound of what could possibly be a xylophone is wafting out of all the buildings – it is children and family day at the Sydney Writer’s Festival, but I am walking towards the refuge of Julian Baggini’s talk on free will. Perhaps this is a different type of playground (one for the existentialist, the nihilist, or simply the interested; all of whom were spotted here).

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By Lauren Gui

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Cities may burn to the ground, but their bones remain, whispering secrets into the hot dusty breeze.

On a Thursday morning bathed in dazzling sunlight, a packed room tucked away at the end of the pier buzzing in anticipation lowers to an excited murmur. Eleanor Limprecht catches my eye and offers a warm smile and quick wink, picking up on my fruitless attempt to contain my enthusiasm.

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By Lauren A. Weber

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I never thought that a talk surrounding cookbooks would involve politics, race, history, and of course food - all at once.

“Our Food History: In Black and White” featuring Jacqui Newling and John Newton embodied all of this juicy stuff, and I also found out that apparently the notorious Australian supervillain also known as the ‘brush turkey’ is a delicious bird that can be baked or seared like duck!

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By Nicola Cayless

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The lobby at the Pier One Hotel is busy, so I suggest we sit outside for the interview, even though it is a little chilly. Nate Marshall, poet and author of Wild Hundreds (University of Pittsburgh Press 2015), is from Chicago, though. I doubt the cold would bother him.

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by Swetha Das

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Lauren A. Weber


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It isn’t often you can say you began your day by watching Paul Muldoon read Seamus Heaney’s poems. Kicking off today’s festivities meant learning how eloquent and engaging Muldoon is as a reader, something I wouldn’t necessarily have expected from the often rolling, difficult nature of his poems.

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