Members of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences at the University of Sydney will feature in a dynamic series of panels, presentations and workshops at the 2013 Sydney Writers' Festival, which begins next Monday 20 May.
University of Sydney speakers will discuss subjects ranging from the classics to multiculturalism, and from war art to contemporary fan fiction.
The Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences is an official sponsor of the Sydney Writers' Festival, which has 'Storytelling' as this year's theme. And in an exciting initiative, the faculty is bringing to Australia James Wood, The New Yorker's chief literary critic.
Described by The Guardian as "the Anglophone world's most esteemed literary critic", Wood, who is a visiting lecturer at Harvard, is launching a new collection of critical essays, titled The Fun Stuff. Among Wood's scheduled appearances is a forum with Geordie Williams, chief literary critic at The Australian, and Jane Gleeson-White, author and faculty alumna. The trio will discuss the books that inspire them.
In our on-campus event this year, Professor Mark Ledbury will discuss the complexities and challenges of editing another person's work at the Macleay Museum on 20 May.
Dr Alastair Blanshard, from the Department of Classics and Ancient History, will facilitate a discussion on what the classics teach us and why the ancient world is still relevant. Meanwhile, Joseph Brennan, a PhD candidate in the Department of Media and Communications, will lead a discussion on the rise of online fan fiction, which also includes fellow PhD candidate David Large; and Amanda Heyward, the original publisher of the phenomenon 50 Shades of Grey.
Dr Tim Soutphommasane, a political philosopher at the University's Institute for Democracy and Human Rights, will participate in a number of Sydney Writers' Festival events focusing on his expertise in multiculturalism and migration. In his solo event, Don't Go Back To Where You Came From, Soutphommasane will dissect the success of multiculturalism in Australia.
Dr Peter Minter, coordinator of the faculty's Indigenous Australian Studies major, will lead a celebration of Indigenous Australian literature and identity. This Faculty of Education and Social Work event, titled Turning the Tide: Indigenous Australian Writers and Thinkers, is returning to the Sydney Writers' Festival for the second year in a row, and will include Lionel Fogarty, Jeanine Leane, and Melissa Lucashenko.
Other events stand testament to the intellectual firepower of the University. Professor Kerry Brown, Director of the China Studies Centre, and Dr Bates Gill, CEO of the United States Studies Centre, will participate in a forum on the relationship between those two world superpowers in the provocative panel discussion, 'China, Friend or Foe?'.
Renowned international art historian Michael Fried, will join a panel discussion on conflict in art in addition to his Sydney Ideas event. His visit is supported by The Power Institute, which supports research and scholarship in the Department of Art History and Film Studies, and Sydney Ideas, the University's flagship public lecture series, together with the United States Studies Centre.
History will also be a key talking point at several events this year. Dr Richard Miles will facilitate an event with acclaimed British historian William Dalrymple, whose latest book Return of A King: The Battle For Afghanistan has been critically acclaimed. Professor Ann Curthoys will conduct a workshop on writing history at the State Library, and Dr Juanita Feros Ruys will host a panel discussion on Stories That Last. Professor Ruys will also speak at a session called Sex and Representation, which includes one of the world's most famous feminists, Naomi Wolf.
As well as university staff, there is a large number of university alumni in the program, including David Malouf, Delia Falconer, Malcolm Turnbull, Luke Davies, David Marr and many more.
For further information, visit the University's SWF website, which will be a hive of activity during the festival. It will feature daily session reviews, author interviews, news and social media feeds, to keep you across this premier cultural event.
This piece originally appeared in Campus Daily.