WellRead's Top 10 Picks of the Sydney Writers' Festival 2021 Program Within Reach



After being struck by the COVID cancellations of 2020, the 23rd Sydney Writers’ Festival is shaping up for a bold return and we cannot wait to get amongst it!

From Monday 26 April to Sunday 2 May 2021, the Festival will host 231 live events featuring more than 400 Australian-based speakers and 15 international writers (via video) who will be considering this year’s Festival theme, Within Reach.

Artistic Director Michael Williams said, “This Festival is about celebrating the voices that extended our world when it felt small. It’s about the books that defeated the distance. It’s also a celebration of coming back together as a community. Rejoining one another in the same room for a shared passion: to hear and tell and challenge stories. And that’s what a festival is. It’s there in the name. A celebration. A party, even.

Our theme this year, Within Reach, highlights the astonishing writers who are shaping Australian literature right now. It recognises those authors who show us an Australia that is not monolithic or static but varied, curious and challenging. We have gathered the many diverse and exciting writers who are right here, within our reach – asking questions, raising their voices and defining this culture.

For all its inbuilt optimism, our theme is not without healthy scepticism, and we’ve refused to relegate conversations to the too-hard basket. Solutions to the problems we’re currently facing – the climate emergency, the global refugee crisis, racism, the failures of public discourse, the death of political accountability – sometimes feel out of reach, so we’ve gathered thinkers, writers and experts we trust to show us the way.

Literature brings ideas and flights of fancy within reach of our everyday life. Brilliant minds bring solutions and possibilities within reach of being realised. A festival brings us within reach of one another again."

The whole program is inspiring but here are our Top 10 Picks... 

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