By Mark Brook
Co-directors of Stories Then and Now photographer and storyteller William Yang
William Yang doesn’t like action films. He says he prefers a storyline that speaks of the human condition. His renowned photography, documenting Sydney’s celebrity and gay party scene in the 1970s, is evidence of this. “Anyone can tell a story,” William says. “I’ve been storytelling in the theatre for 20 years.”
By Francesca Millena
The 2013 UTS Writers’ Anthology The Evening Lands was launched by Amanda Lohrey at this year’s 2013 Sydney Writers’ Festival
Some describe the process as gruelling, for some it is an eye-opener, others call it a nurturing experience. But its writers and editors agree: working on the annual UTS Writers’ Anthology, one of Australia’s longest-running university published collections, is not to be missed.
On a recent afteroon, as the final proofs of the 27th UTS Writers’ Anthology, The Evening Lands, were being put to bed, a crowd gathered at the UTS Loft bar. It was the first time the 30 contributing student writers met their editors face-to-face, although dozens of emails and phone calls had been exchanged over the past five months.
By Erin Flick
Hamilton Island: a tropical kaleidscope of natural beauty. Picture by Mrowka
Late in the afternoon, as dusk creeps along the eastern tip of the island, dozens of Sulphur-crested Cockatoos appear. Crazy, cheeky, screeching, and circling, they size us up as we stand on our balcony on the 17th floor of the Reef View Hotel.
Intrigued by the noise, an audience forms as others gather on their balconies to watch the show. A cockatoo lands clumsily on the balcony railing. As I pick up my camera, another approaches. Another touches down in a mess of white feathers, then another and another, obstructing our stupendous view. They hop awkwardly along the railing and it’s impossible to miss the cheeky joy they take in nagging one another. The air is pierced by their shrieks and shrills. As I adjust my focus and peer at their bobbing heads through my Canon, they peer back with intelligent black eyes.
By Greg Volz
Daniel Morden gave the opening night address at the 2013 Sydney Writers’ Festival
The Sydney Theatre was packed to the rafters on Tuesday evening as Daniel Morden delivered the opening address, A Ghost at My Shoulder. Described as one of Europe’s greatest storytellers, he didn’t disappoint, delivering in spades on the Festival’s story telling theme.
Astride a stage bare of props and dressed simply, Welsh-born the writer made full use of the tools of his trade – tone of voice, pitch, simple gestures, power of story. Occasionally he prowled the stage as he took the audience deeper into a story.
By Linda Beattie
Defeating all odds, acclaimed journalist Maxine McKew defeated Prime Minister John Howard for the seat of Bennelong in the 2007 Federal election. One of the most tumultuous periods in Australian politics followed, and then in 2010 Maxine became one of the casualties of a disastrous election campaign.
Her political career was cut short in the wake of a leadership change between Kevin Rudd and Julia Gillard. Author of The Battle for Bennelong Margot Saville interviewed Maxine about her book Tales from the Political Trenches and what went wrong, and got her perspective on the current political climate at a session at the Sydney Writer’s Festival.
By Lucy Marks
Dr Aleks Krotoski
American social psychologist Dr Aleks Krotoski, author of Untangling the Web, has spent a decade probing the effects of the web on society. She spoke with technology journalist, author and radio presenter Marc Fennell about our reaction to the systematic integration of the Internet into our lives.
Dr Krotoski described the web as a social and psychological phenomenon and questioned whether it is dissolving community or simply – or maybe not so simply – changing the spectrum of interpersonal relationships at the Sydney Writers’ Festival session called, appropriately, Untangling the Web.
By Greg Volz
Jemma Birrell: looking at the range of storytelling and the depth and breadth of possibilities
The two-wheel bicycle is old, battered and blue. A Peugeot. It sits in the foyer of 10 Hickson Road in the Rocks, while its owner, Jemma Birrell, muses on the difficulty of getting parts for a Peugeot in Sydney. The bike has just arrived from Paris, preceded by Ms Birrell, who has returned home after seven years to take up the job of artistic director for the Sydney Writers’ Festival.
Unobliging spare parts are one of the few downsides for Ms Birrell in what appears to be her dream job: “Even though I loved Paris, loved living there, you can’t have a more beautiful city in the world than this.”
By Jodi Lee
They All Hate Us: simply clever
There are currently 156 million bloggers worldwide. That’s a lot of personal opinion on the web. And increasingly some of those blogs, and opinions, are being taken seriously and wielding a lot of influence. That’s a lot of marketing and sales influence.
The concept of blogging isn’t new. It began as a means of self-expression in the early 1990s, a place for someone to document her thoughts and experiences and share them with others. Similar to other social media sites, blogs are largely free to set-up and maintain, easily customised, and easy to use. But while Facebook might allow short personal updates and Twitter 140 characters to express what one is thinking, blogs provide endless space and opportunities for users to talk about themselves and express an opinion.
By Greg Volz
Sir Ken Robinson says schools kill creativity. It’s the most watched TED Talk ever. At last count, over 14 million people had viewed it online. The moving story of a girl born to dance. Of a school system that did not recognise that. n some way, Robinson’s talk struck a nerve.
Robinson is one of the words leading speakers on education. He is widely quoted, talking about the importance of creativity. However, for Robyn Ewing, Professor of Teacher Education and the Arts at the University of Sydney, Robinson’s TED Talk is just the starting point.
By John Mebberson
Matthew Condon: a duty to tell the story.
When Matthew Condon read a passage from his latest novel, The Toe Tag Quintet, in the bowels of Ashfield Library on a cold, wet evening the audience could not help but laugh at the absurd notion of a hardened ex-detective pining after an old Kombi van.
The author describes his retired protagonist yearning for his youth while remembering a past career that included cracking criminal’s heads as a member of a Sydney vice squad. “I was once a great believer in the eight-point philosophy of persuasion,” says the un-named main character. “That’d be the eight bony points revealed when you close both fists.”