2016 / Thursday

A hint of Hemingway at Festival opening party

Anita Senaratna

According to Jemma Birrell, Director of the 2016 Sydney Writers Festival, “a good festival, like a good book, should bring real-life benefits – joy, solace and a new understanding of the world.”

There were plenty of all these things on Opening Night of the festival, with the highlight of the evening being a compelling opening address by British poet and spoken word artist Kate Tempest, who received a standing ovation for her poems and streams of consciousness, covering topics like homelessness, racism and the power of literature.

After the address, the opening night party kicked off at Pier 2/3, which was transformed into The Hemingway Bar and lit up in festival colours of red, orange and yellow. Guests included writers Thomas Keneally, Tara Moss and Emily Maguire, radio host  Amanda Keller, as well as British psychoanalyst Susie Orbach and her partner, writer Jeanette Winterson.

The theme for this year’s festival is bibliotherapy, with events centred around the ways in which literature can be used to heal.

Photographs: Prudence Upton

Background photograph: Remy Varga-Taylor

Amanda Keller, Louise Thurtell and Michael Robotham

Amanda Keller, Louise Thurtell and Michael Robotham

Michael Lynch, Chrissy Sharp with David Marr

Michael Lynch, Chrissy Sharp with David Marr

James Valentine with Justine Ferrari and Cassie McCullagh

James Valentine with Justine Ferrari and Cassie McCullagh

SWF guest curators Susie Orbach, George Megalogenis, and Anna Funder with Jemma Birrell. Craig Allchin, Anna Funder and Emma Sky

SWF guest curators Susie Orbach, George Megalogenis, and Anna Funder with Jemma Birrell.

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