The Write Stuff : UTS alumni shine at the 2015 Sydney Writers’ Festival

05 May 2015

Jemma BirrellThe Sydney Writers’ Festival – Australia’s largest literary event – has earned a reputation for bringing together the most stimulating thought-leaders from across the globe. So it’s no surprise to find this year’s program jam-packed with UTS graduates across a range of disciplines, particularly the creative arts.

More than 40 UTS alumni feature among some 400 authors, artists, journalists and speakers in this year’s program, packed with 300 events fusing literature with music, TV writing, performance, politics and social issues.

Behind the program’s development is 2014 UTS Alumni Award winner Jemma Birrell, whose fresh vision and unique programming as Artistic Director has helped open the Festival to new audiences – breaking all records for attendance and geographic reach in the process.

“When we’re trying to make sense of our world, writers offer solace and inspiration,” says Birrell of this year’s Festival theme, ‘How to live?’ “Their words create a space where we can stop and breathe and take time out from the repetition of our days to question, reflect and explore.”

Listed among the festival highlights is UTS Luminary Dr Kate Grenville (Doctor of Creative Arts, 2005), who will be speaking about One Life, her most personal book to date. Based on fragments of memoirs left by her mother, the novel is a daughter’s intimate account of a mother who mixed ambition with domesticity at a time of great change for women.

On the long list of alumni contributing to the diverse program are acclaimed poets Judith Beveridge (Bachelor of Arts in Communication, 1978), shortlisted in this year’s NSW Premier’s Literary Awards, and Robert Gray (Doctor of Creative Arts, 2012); two-time Walkley Award-winning journalist Sarah Dingle (Bachelor of Arts in Communication (Journalism) and International Studies, 2007); renowned illustrator James Gulliver Hancock (Bachelor of Design in Visual Communication, 2002); and The Chaser’s Chris Taylor (Graduate Diploma in Communication, 1997).

Associate Professor Debra Adelaide says the festival is one that celebrates readers and the passion Australians have for reading books. “Australians have a really healthy book-reading culture, and read more per capita compared to the US, and even compared to the UK,” she says.

Adelaide will appear in a conversational panel alongside Sunil Badami (Doctor of Creative Arts, 2014) around her new book, The Simple Act of Reading, exploring the enjoyment of reading and what it means for writers to be readers.

Fellow UTS staff members on the program include 2ser 107.3’s Music Director Andrew Khedoori, Dr Heidi Norman, Zoë Sadokierski, and Heather Goodall.

2ser's Khedoori will be hosting two events at the festival, Telling a Life: Music and Biography and Anatomy of a Kid’s Song .

Catch your fellow alumni at the Sydney Writers' Festival from 18-24 May:

Dr Fiona Allon  Bachelor of Arts in Communication 1990; Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Communication (1992); Doctor of Philosophy in Humanities and Social Sciences (2001)

Sunil Badami  Bachelor of Arts in Communication (1998); Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Communication (2004); Doctor of Creative Arts (2014)

Tegan Bennett Daylight  Bachelor of Arts in Communication (1991); Master of Creative Arts (2006); Doctor of Creative Arts (2012)

Judith Beveridge  Bachelor of Arts in Communication (1978)

James Bradley  Doctor of Creative Arts (2013)

Emma Brazil  Master of Arts in Creative Writing (2011)

Damian Castaldi  Graduate Certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (2003)

Claire Corbett  Bachelor of Arts in Communication (1990); Master of Arts in Writing (1997)

Sarah Dingle  Bachelor of Arts in Communication (Journalism) and International Studies (2007)

Barbara Fienberg  Diploma in Teacher Librarianship (1974)

Linda Godfrey  Master of Arts in Professional Writing (2006)

Roanna Gonsalves  Master of Arts in Professional Writing (2002)

Heather Goodall  Graduate Diploma in Adult Education (1987)

Robert Gray  Doctor of Creative Arts (2012)

Kate Grenville  Doctor of Creative Arts (2005)

Alice Grundy  Graduate Certificate in Editing and Publishing (2010)

James Gulliver Hancock  Bachelor of Design in Visual Communication (2002)

Ashley Hay  Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Communication (1996); Doctor of Creative Arts (2012)

Kathryn Heyman  Doctor of Creative Arts (2008)

Elizabeth Johnstone  Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice (1992)

Michaela Kalowski  Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice (2003)

Suzanne Leal  Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice (1993)

Steve Lewis  Bachelor of Laws (1988); Graduate Diploma in Legal Practice (1992)

Carol Major  Master of Arts in Writing (Thesis) (2001); Doctor of Creative Arts (2006)

Patti Miller  Bachelor of Arts in Communication (1982); Master of Arts in Writing (1994)

Peter Minter  Master of Arts in Writing (Research) (2003); Doctor of Philosophy (2011)

Joel Naoum   Graduate Diploma in Writing (2009)

Camilla Nelson   Doctor of Creative Arts (2007)

P.M. Newton  Graduate Diploma in Information Management (2004); Graduate Certificate in Writing (2006); Master of Arts in Writing (Research) (2010)

Heidi Norman  Master of Arts in Indigenous Social Policy (2004)

Zoe Norton Lodge  Master of Arts in Creative Writing (2011)

Cheryl Orsini  Bachelor of Design in Visual Communication (1994)

Yvette Poshoglian  Graduate Diploma in Journalism (2009); Bachelor of Teaching in Secondary Education (2012)

Zoë Sadokierski  Bachelor of Design in Visual Communication (2003); Doctor of Philosophy (2010

Cat Sparks  Graduate Certificate in Editing and Publishing (2003)

Matt Stanton  Graduate Diploma in Design (2008)

Chris Taylor  Graduate Diploma in Communication (1997)

Tom Tilley  Graduate Certificate in Journalism (2010)

Christopher Warren  Bachelor of Arts in Leisure Studies (1992)

Anna Westbrook  Bachelor of Arts in Communication (Writing and Contemporary Cultures) (2006)

Charlotte Wood  Master of Creative Arts (2010)