At The Festival


Here at we’re preparing for a busy few days at the 2009 Sydney Writers’ Festival. Each year the festival brings together a terrific cross-section of authors, interests and issues and once again has a great line up of writers involved in panels and discussions.

Ben Pobjie will be at the festival for the first time, hosting a conversation with Christian Lander, creator of the website Stuff
White People Like
. Ben is one of‘s regular columnists. His sharp, irreverent satire on Australian current affairs
walks the line between moral panic and social justice. Ben will no doubt find a fellow traveller in Christian Lander, whose blog famously “skewers the sacred cows of lefty Caucasian culture”. This week, in preparation for the festival, Ben offers readers a sociological take on blogging. When he is not writing for, Ben Pobjie is a fixture on Melbourne’s comedy and spoken word performance scenes and blogs here.

Ben and Christian will reconvene on Sunday to discuss The Blogosphere. They will be joined by another regular, Antony Loewenstein and James Maskalyk, the author of Six Months in Sudan. Antony’s book The Blogging Revolution,
examines the use of the internet in repressive regimes. Antony will also be participating in the panel on Sunday afternoon with (former staff member) Rachel Hills and others at: Bloggers vs Journalists, Round 378.

Shakira Hussein, who writes regularly for on religion, gender and South Asia, will be chairing a discussion with authors Paul McGeough and Mohammed Hanif about assassination plots. Shakira’s writing both here at and at Shalom Pax Salam looks at the portrayal of Islam and women in the media coverage of South Asia.

Producers of the SBS series The First Australians, Rachel Perkins, Louis Nowra and Bruce Pascoe will be joined by‘s literary review writer, Eve Vincent, for a conversation about the series. The First Australians
brought into our lounge rooms a dramatic rendering of the collision of two worlds that created contemporary Australia. Eve is currently undertaking ethnographic fieldwork in far west South Australia.

Jason Wilson has written about social networking, rugby league, Underbelly and Queensland politics for Today he hosts True Crime Stories — documenting the darker side of human nature — with journalists Robert Wainwright and Paola Totaro, and authors Tom Gilling and Clive Small.

And last night, our Associate Editor Brendan Phelan hosted a lively conversation with author and writer Irfan Yusuf, about his autobiographical book Once Were Radicals: My Years as a Teenage Islamo-Fascist. Irfan’s work points the finger at mainstream extremism and hypocrisy and is a passionate (and funny) voice of moderation. You can also catch Irfan in conversation on Saturday.

Congratulations to the winners of our recent SWF ticket giveaway. We hope to catch up with many of our readers at this year’s festival.

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