Festival 2007

Highlights from Festival 2007

In 2007 we celebrated the 10th Sydney Writers' Festival. From our origins in the State Library to our home on the Wharf at Walsh Bay, Sydney Writers' Festival has rapidly grown into a cultural event of international significance. Everyone who has taken part - from past staff, board members, supporters to our loyal audiences - has a great deal of which to be proud.

From the opening address by Scotland's leading light Andrew O'Hagan to the final word from former Dutch parliamentarian Ayaan Hirsi Ali, there was so much in this Festival. Exciting additions included literary salons; a workshop series; program strands on food and drink, and on contemporary music; and a bigger program for younger audiences. We embarked on exciting new ventures with the Historic Houses Trust and the Chauvel Cinema. SWF events took place throughout the city, in the western suburbs and regional NSW, as well as the atmospheric Cockatoo Island.

China featured strongly in this year's program and we were honoured to host one of China's foremost poets, Bei Dao, on his first visit to Australia. He and other Chinese writers were joined by commentators such as leading economist Will Hutton, whose Writing on the Wall is one of the major works considering China's economic ascension.

We were thrilled to turn Sydney Theatre into a cinema for the Sydney premiere of the Australian film of Raimond Gaita's Romulus, My Father. For history buffs, a Friday evening double-bill to die for featured Antony Beevor and William Dalyrmple lending their erudition to past turmoil in Spain and in India. Town Hall events focused on current affairs and an evening with Lionel Shriver left audiences in awe of her naked and confronting prose.

With the help of our friends at NRMA Insurance, we were proud to be the first climate friendly Australian literary festival. In 2007, we offset all carbon emissions and introduced a range of other initiatives to reduce our environmental impact.

There were just too many names to list on the fine fiction front, from Richard Ford, Andrei Makine and Rachel Seiffert, to newcomers Mohsin Hamid and Steven Hall. More than 70 international guests converged on Sydney to join a stellar cast of hundreds of Australian writers for a weeklong celebration of the written word.

Wendy WereWendy Were
Artistic Director and Chief Executive