The Sydney Writers’ Festival, Patrick White’s The Hanging Garden and red herring

Chip Rolley

‘This year, it’s personal …’ The Sydney Writers’ Festival 2012 (14-20 May) is focused on the line between the public and the personal. As artistic director Chip Rolley says: ‘The question of the limits of what is personal is one of the hottest subjects around.’

The lineup of authors local and international is extremely exciting, including UK-based Libyan novelist Hisham Matar whose opening address will encompass the power of fiction to approximate the feelings and emotions that defy articulation, and science writer and author of Longitude Dava Sobel, who will close the festival with an address on the transit of Venus.

Jeanette Winterson

There are over 300 events and more than 400 participants this year, but I’m especially excited that Jeanette Winterson and Jeffrey Eugenides will be here. Winterson’s Oranges are Not the Only Fruit and Eugenides’ The Virgin Suicides are among my favourite novels.

I’ll be talking about Double Entry – in a session aptly called ‘Debt in Venice‘ – with Geoffrey Lehmann on Friday 18 May. I’ll also be talking about making literature out of numbers with writer Gideon Haigh in ‘The Artful Abacus‘ chaired by novelist and former Macbanker John M Green at 11.30am on Saturday 19 May.

I’ll also be part of the workshop ‘The Forest for the Trees: Writers and Publishing in 2012’ on Thursday 17 May. The workshop will discuss what’s happening in 2012 for publishers, bookshops and writers. I’ll be speaking as the fiction editor of Overland magazine about short story writing, editing and publishing.

Speaking of Overland, it’s just revamped its blog and recruited a team of regular bloggers and reviewers, including editors Jeff Sparrow and Jacinda Woodhead. I’ll be writing there once a month as ‘red herring‘ on feminist politics and green economics.

For anyone interested in Patrick White or Australian literature, I reviewed White’s unfinished novel The Hanging Garden for the Age earlier this month. The manuscript was found among White’s papers on his death and has just been published by Random House. I loved it, fragment though it is.

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6 Responses to The Sydney Writers’ Festival, Patrick White’s The Hanging Garden and red herring

  1. Anthony says:

    Exciting! Eugenides is amazing – although I’m yet to read his latest work. ‘Middlesex’ is one of my all time favourite novels.

  2. Lisa Hill says:

    I’ve just bought The Hanging Garden. I love reading Patrick White and am so pleased that there’s another one to add to my TBR!

  3. Isn’t the SWF program wonderful this year! I look forward to reading your blog at Overland too…

  4. Thanks Kirsten. Yes, I’m so excited about SWF 2012. Hope to blog more about it.

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