Rupi Kaur, Saroo and Sue Brierley guests at Sydney Writer’s Festival

Rupi Kaur, author of Milk and Honey

Saroo and Sue Brierley

Sydney Writers’ Festival will be held from 22-28 May 2017. Comprising of more than 300 events SWF is a literature rich festival in the month of May as winter sets in. It is accessible to a wide range

of audiences with an objective that presents many events for free and some paid also there will be workshops.

Writes Festival’s Artistic director, Michaela McGuire,  says in her message, “Reading can be a mixed blessing. For anyone who has had the misfortune to glance at the headlines recently, the last few months have felt like a long fever dream, for reasons that extend far beyond the outcome of the US Presidential election or Brexit.

SWF Artistic director, Michaela McGuire

More than 20 million refugees are on the move and another 40 million people are displaced in their own countries, in the largest worldwide humanitarian crisis since 1945. Scientists announced that the Earth reached its highest temperatures in 2016 ”“ for the third year in a row. Millions more people have been left in reduced and uncertain circumstances, and feel that nobody is listening.

In times like these, we have a choice. We can give in to the rising zeitgeist of insular thought and intellectual suspicion or we can look for ways to fight it. Specifically, in this Festival, we look to books, to literature, to new forms of writing, where some of the world’s finest minds have started circling the wagons. Now, more than ever, I think that readers will be turning to literature as a place of refuge.”

Feminist writer and commentator Roxane Gay will be a guest at this year’s festival. To open the Festival, three of the world’s most celebrated literary figures, Brit Bennet (The Mothers), Anne Enright  winner the Man Booker Prize The Gathering, George Saunders  with his incendiary first novel (Lincoln in the Bardo),  will each deliver an address on the theme of refuge.

The fest’s week-long conversation has some Indian flavour with writers from abroad and Australia.

1. As part of our “All Day YA’ mini-fest in  Sydney’s Western Suburbs, Sydney Writer’s Festival has invited internationally renowned Punjabi-Canadian poet, feminist activist, and spoken word performer  Rupi Kaur. Rupi self-published her debut poetry collection  milk and honey  to critical acclaim becoming a #1 New York Times Bestseller with over one million copies sold. She writes on feminist issues, race and diversity, and creates beautiful illustrations. Her new collection will be published in September. Rupi often uses Instagram to publish new work, and has gained support for her photo series to destigmatise the taboos around menstruation.

Her first performance took place in 2009, in the basement of the Punjabi Community Health Centre in Malton. Her reach and online following has since grown immensely. Rupi has really tapped into the romance, whimsy, heartbreak, and deep meditation on femininity of the young women who find refuge and understanding in her work.
Sydney  Writers’  Festival  events:

See her gorgeous Instagram here:

Some 44,000 or so reactions about  milk and honey  from goodreads here:

Q&A on her website here:

2. Another special event of interest will be  Saroo Brierley, whose book ”˜A long way home’ was made into a film ”˜Lion’ starring Nicole Kidman and Dave Patel. Saroo  and his adopted mother  Sue Brierley  will attend the  Sydney Writer’s festival  together. Saroo was born in an Indian town called Khandwa. In 1986, aged only 5, he lost all contact with his family when he was at a train station waiting for his brother, who never returned. After living on the streets of Calcutta for 3 weeks by himself, he was placed in a local orphanage where an Australian family from Hobart adopted Saroo. After years trying to track down his old town through the labyrinth of railways lines on Google Earth and an image etched into his brain as a 5-year-old, he finally found his town Khandwa on the map and travelled to India to try and find members of his family. In early 2012, after 25 years of separation, he finally reunited with his mother. His international best-seller  A Long Way Home tells his story. The film adaptation of Saroo’s book  Lion, starring Dev Patel as Saroo and Nicole Kidman as his mother Sue, was nominated for a Golden Globe, a BAFTA, and an Academy Award.

Sue Brierley  is the mother of Saroo Brierley, whose incredible journey to find his birth family is told in his book  A Long Way Home  and the Oscar-nominated film,  Lion. Sue is the mother of two adopted children, both of whom were born in India.  Sue has had a life-long commitment to adoption, particularly from overseas countries.  She has travelled extensively over the last year with Saroo to promote his book, and will soon commence  writing  her own story. She also works closely with her husband John in their family business in Hobart, Tasmania.

Sydney  Writers’  Festival  event:


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