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Monday, May 21, 2007

Sydney Writers Festival

We're a week out from the Sydney Writer's Festival and now might be a good time to cast our eye over the events that might attract the notice of crime buffs.

First off, we can start on Tuesday May 29 from 6:30 - 7:30 fans of the rip-roaring action adventure-type books can go and see Matthew Reilly at Blacktown Library as he talks a bit about Seven Ancient Wonders. This is a free session but it is advisable to book ahead to ensure a spot.

Thursday May 31 brings together Leigh Redhead, Jane Goodall, Lee Tulloch and Christine Cremen for a discussion titled The Next Wave of Australian Women Crime Writers as they discuss the evolution of women's crime fiction. This session is a free session and will be held at the Sydney Dance Company 2/3 from 5:30 - 6:30.

Back up on Friday June 1 for the Australian Crime session which will be held (appropriately) at the Justice and Police Museum. Dorothy Porter (author of El Dorado) and Adrian Hyland (author of Diamond Dove) will join Christine Cremen for a chat. This one's a ticketed affair costing $10 a seat and will go from 1:00pm - 2:00pm.

Later on Friday you could nip out to the Ashfield Town Hall for the Criminal Intent with Vikram Chandra and Leigh Redhead session where you can experience a "night on the mean streets". This free session starts at 6:30pm, bookings required. Vikram Chandra is an Indian author whose first novel, Red Earth and Pouring Rain won the Commonwealth Writers' Prize for Best First Book and the David Higham Prize and his latest book is titled Sacred Games. Leigh Redhead is the author of Peepshow, Rubdown and Cherry Pie. She was a 2006 Sydney Morning Herald Best Young Australian Novelist. Should be a good night.

Saturday morning is the Detectives without Borders session with Vikram Chandra, Alan Gold, Adrian Hyland and Diane Wei Liang. Chandra will take us through the criminal underworld in Mumbai, Liang will introduce us to the seedier spots of the Forbidden City in Beijing and Hyland will take us out to the dusty Outback of Tennant Creek. All chaired by Alan Gold. This free session will be held at the Sydney Dance Company 2/3 theatre at Hickson Road.

If you're feeling a bit peckish after that, you can troop across town to the Justice & Police Museum for the Murder On the Menu session. This is another ticket affair ($10 will see you through) and features Marion Halligan (The Apricot Colonel) Leigh Redhead (Cherry Pie) Don Winslow (The Winter of Frankie Machine). Love the write-up for this one "Hard boiled? Maybe. Taste Marion Halligan's Apricot Colonel, indulge in Leigh Redhead's Cherry Pie and be seduced by the perfect espresso made by Don Winslow's retired mafia hit man Frankie Machine, in a feast of culinary crime."

What should prove to be a very entertaining session (meaning, be prepared for a laugh or two) on Saturday arvo will be Greed is Good, or Life Beyond the Cubicle Farm featuring Max Barry (Company) and Shelley Gare (Triumph of the Airheads) at Sydney Theatre Richard Wherrett from 2:00 - 3:00pm. This is another ticket affair costing $10.

You can then head back down to Hickson Road on Saturday night for the Don Winslow in conversation session from 4:00 - 5:30pm. Don Winslow is the rapidly rising star of the American crime writing fraternity. The hero of his new novel is a brilliant creation – a sophisticated but laid-back gangster with a heart of gold. It's no surprise that Robert De Niro snapped up the film rights to The Winter of Frankie Machine and plans to star in the movie. (I can also recommend reading the Death and Life of Bobby Z). This is another freebie and should prove to be a fascinating session.

Rounding off Saturday night, the Sydney launch of El Dorado by Dorothy Porter will be held at Sydney Theatre Richard Wherrett from 6:30 - 7:30pm.

That brings us to Sunday June 3 and you can kick it off by checking out the We can be Heroes session with Tom Keneally (author of Schindler's Ark amongst numerous other - his latest is The Widow and Her Hero) and Alexis Wright (Carpentaria). The write-up for this one looks enticing: What does it mean to be hero in this day and age? Why do people sacrifice all in the name of an idea, or for a code of conduct, or for their country? Ideas of Australian heroism are explored in Tom Keneally's The Widow and Her Hero. In Alexis Wright's Carpentaria, the coastal town of Desperance is populated by extraordinary figures who stand like giants in a storm-swept world and where "legends and ghosts live side by side". Tickets cost $10 and it will be held at Sydney Theatre Richard Wherrett from 9:30 - 10:30.

On Sunday at 12:30 will be the On Redemption session with Sarah Hopkins (The Crimes of Billy Fish), Michael Robotham (The Night Ferry) and chaired by James Bradley (The Resurrectionist). This session will be about the possibility of escaping your past or at least, facing up to it. It's another free session but, again, advisable to book ahead.

On at the same time (decisions, decisions) is Richard Flanagan in conversation at the Sydney Theatre. His latest novel is The Unknown Terrorist and his The Sound of One Hand Clapping has been acclaimed around the world. He will be talking with Malcolm Knox (A Private Man). Tickets cost $10 for this session.

Sunday afternoon, and the Literary Mysteries session will be held at Bangarra Mezzanine from 3:30pm. This session will feature Mark Ragg (The Dickenson Papers) and Matt Rubinstein (A Little Rain on Thursday). They will talk about their literary mysteries set on Sydney's streets in this free session.

I have just picked out a bare selection of what looks to be a very lively and entertaining program. Crime readers or not, there's definitely something for everyone who has ever picked up a book. I've advised on whether session are free or ticketed but all details, including maps on the location of venues can be found on the SWF website. Check it out.


Peter Rozovsky said...

That looks like a good, strong schedule, full of authors I've read or am interested in. I just returned from a vacation today, so I think there's little chance I could take another one and come to Australia next week. You'll have to keep us posted.
Detectives Beyond Borders
"Because Murder Is More Fun Away From Home"

Damien said...

Come on down, Peter, a mere 14 hours in a Qantas jet and you're here...

Actually, I'd love to get to a number of these sessions - the time, the time.