Sydney Writers' Festival is back again!

webbannerManning Valley Libraries is excited to once again be a live-streaming partner for the 2016 Sydney Writers' Festival, one of Australia's best-loved forums for literature, ideas and storytelling. Sydney Writers' Festival will stream its headline events from Roslyn Packer Theatre in Sydney in May 2016.

Prepare to be stimulated and engaged by conversations, debates and discussions as the Festival brings the world's finest authors to the Manning Valley in real time. As well as hearing new ideas from great thinkers, audiences have the opportunity to participate in Q&A sessions at each event, sending questions via a live feed direct to guest authors. The Festival will be live-streamed on Friday 20, Saturday 21 and Sunday 22 May at Taree Library. A full list of presentations is below. Bookings are free and can be made by clicking on the link underneath the presentation description.

Speakers: William Boyd and Julian Barnes

Talk: History and Fiction

Date: Friday 20 May, 10.00 - 11.00am


1Collage Boyd and Barnes

Can fiction go where history fears to tread? Join William Boyd and Julian Barnes for a rich and provocative conversation about the delicate intersection of history and fiction. Man Booker Prize-winner Julian Barnes’s latest novel, The Noise of Time, explores the life of Russian composer Dmitri Shostakovich and his struggles with the brutal Stalinist regime. William Boyd’s Sweet Caress sweeps across twentieth century history in an account of fictional photographer Amory Clay. This is a rare chance to hear from two masters of their craft, in conversation with Amelia Lester.

Speaker: Jonathan Franzen

Talk: My Reading Life 

Date: Friday 20 May, 11.30am - 12.30pm


1Franzen Jonathan c BeowulfSheehan

Jonathan Franzen is not only a great writer, but a great reader, standing up for writers who have fallen out of favour and writing impassioned essay on authors such as David Foster Wallace and Alice Munro. In this session Tegan Bennett Daylight walks through Franzen’s life as a reader – from the seminal books of his childhood, past great writers like Don DeLillo,Thomas Pynchon, Franz Kafka and Karl Kraus and finishes up with what he’s reading now.

Speakers: Jeanette Winterson, Tim Flannery and James Rebanks

Talk: Let Nature Be Your Teacher 

Date: Friday 20 May, 1.30 - 2.30 pm


Collage Winterson Flannery and Rebanks

When Jeanette Winterson posted a photo of a dead rabbit she was about to put in her cooking pot, the Twittersphere erupted. In this age of pre-packaged everything, how do we keep our connection to the land? Winterson, who lives in a wood in the rural Cotswolds and has a share in a smallholding of a rare breed of sheep called the Lions of the Wold, joins Australian scientist and natural heritage advocate Tim Flannery and The Shepherd’s Life author and UNESCO sustainable tourism advisor James Rebanks, whose family’s Lakes District heritage spans over 600 years. Join in a discussion that roams freely across our complex and often contradictory relationship with nature. With ABC RN’s Natasha Mitchell.

Speakers: Ann Goldstein and Paul Muldoon

Talk: Inside The New Yorker 

Date: Friday 20 May, 3.00 - 4.00 pm


Collage Goldstein & Muldoon

Go behind the scenes at one of the world’s most influential publications with some of its most talented and prominent editors. Ann Goldstein began her career at The New Yorker in 1974 in the copy department, and eventually rose to editor, working with the likes of John Updike. Pulitzer-prize winning poet Paul Muldoon is the magazine’s poetry editor deciding exactly what 100 poems they will publish each year after having received thousands. Ann and Paul speak with Amelia Lester, the magazine’s former managing editor. Discover the highs and lows of working for the legendary masthead, from making decisions on controversial stories to working with some of the world’s greatest living writers.

Speaker: Andrew Denton

Talk: Better Off Dead

Date: Friday 20 May, 4.30 - 5.30 pm


Denton Andrew

Modern medicine can do remarkable things to prolong our bodies, but is it giving us a better quality of life? Andrew Denton has come out of his three-year hiatus to push for a re-think on assisted dying laws with his podcast series Better Off Dead. He has interviewed all sides of the debate – the elderly and disabled, doctors, lawyers, ethicists, academics, people for and against – in countries around the world. Whatever your point of view, the conversation is certainly one worth having. He speaks with David Leser.

Speaker: David Gonski 

Talk: I Gave A Gonski

Date: Friday 20 May, 6.00 - 7.00 pm


Gonski David

David Gonski has spent his career advising Australian big business and has participated in four reviews for the federal government. While he may be best known for his review of education, he is equally passionate about the importance of philanthropy, why more women should be on boards and what makes a good company director. He talks with Margot Saville about his life and family, and shares his ideas on the diverse subjects covered in his recent collection of speeches, I Gave a Gonski. Where Gonski goes, lively conversation follows.

Speakers: Magda Szubanski and George Megalogenis

Talk: Rated PG

Date: Friday 20 May, 7.30 - 8.30 pm


Collage Magda and George

In her bestselling memoir Reckoning, Magda Szubanski recounts a life lived in the shadow of her father’s wartime secrets and her own private awakening. From suburban Catholic schoolgirl to acclaimed comedian, Magda’s story covers growing up, finding the funny and how the silence of the past can be deafening. Magda also swaps notes with author and commentator George Megalogenis on how the dorky children of European migrants came to redefine Australian culture.

Speakers: Gloria Steinem, Ira Trivedi and Laura Tingle

Talk: Why Women Should Rule the World

Date: Saturday 21 May, 10.00 - 11.00 am


Collage Steinem Trivedo and Tingle

Fewer women run big companies than men named John, according to a 2015 report by Ernst & Young. Yet in a recent Washington blizzard, the Senate chamber discovered the only senators hardy enough to show up were the so-called ‘weaker’ sex. George Megalogenis hosts a panel including feminist icon Gloria Steinem, Indian writer and activist Ira Trivedi and Australian journalist Laura Tingle for a frank and fearless discussion about the advantages of making room for more women at the top.

Speaker: James Rebanks

Talk: A Shepherd's Life

Date: Saturday 21 May, 11.30 am - 12.30 pm


Rebanks James c Eamonn McCabe

‘Every wall, every field, every hillside, every hedge, and every sheep means something to us. They represent work done, and things owned, and lives lived to make those things what they are.’ James is the latest in a long line of sheep farmers, that stretches back over 600 years in the North of England, in the English Lake District and the Eden Valley. His phenomenal bestseller, The Shepard’s Life is a love story to the land, the mundane and magnificent tasks required to keep a Herdwick sheep farm running and being at peace with whatever nature throws your way. While most people are planning where to next, James Rebanks talks to ABC’s Richard Fidler about the joys of staying put.

Speaker: Marlon James

Talk: A Brief History of Seven Killings

Date: Saturday 21 May, 1.30 pm - 2.30 pm


James Marlon c Jeffrey Skemp

A Brief History of Seven Killings won the Man Booker Prize in 2015 and its author was the first Jamaican to receive this prize. A work of imaginative genius, the novel takes place in Jamaica in the 70s and 80s when Bob Marley was almost murdered, guns flooded in and the CIA set up house. Filled with vivid landscapes and eclectic characters from drug dealers, beauty queens and journalists to ghosts, it’s an epic story that has captured readers around the world. Marlon speaks with ABC RN’s Michael Cathcart.

Speaker: Stan Grant

Talk:  Talking to My Country

Date: Saturday 21 May, 3.00 - 4.00 pm


Grant Stan c Kathy Luu

Stan Grant has been gracing our screens as a journalist for almost 30 years. He’s also a Wiradjuri man whose speech on racism in 2016 went viral, and now the author of Talking to My Country. Is Australia really a multicultural safe haven of equal opportunity? Is racism more prevalent, or declining? Stan gives a special talk urging all Australians to think deeply about our identity and how we can be better. Both heartbreaking and inspiring this goes beyond previous conversations about race and Indigenous people. A powerful meditation on race and national identity.

Speakers: Vivian Gornick, Roger Cohen, Aleksander Hemon and Dr David Smith

Talk:  America Writers Talk Politics

Date: Saturday 21 May, 4.30 - 5.30 pm


Collage gornick cohen and hemon

Take a fresh look at some of the most pressing issues facing the world today in this thought-provoking series. Each session focuses on a different country with the writers who know its terrain intimately. In this session, American critic Vivian Gornick joins New York Times columnist Roger Cohen, Chicago adoptee Aleksandar Hemon and politics and foreign policy expert Dr David Smith to discuss what divides the greatest superpower in the world, from guns and borders to controversial presidential candidates. Hosted by former New Yorker editor, now Editor of Good Weekend Amelia Lester. Supported by United States Studies Centre at the University of Sydney.

Speaker: Kerry O'Brien

Talk: Living with Keating

Date: Sunday 22 May, 10.00 - 11.00 am


OBrien Kerry

Towards the end of Keating, the former PM offers these words of wisdom: ‘We all get carried out in the end. The big question is, what sort of trail you can blaze.’ Love him or hate him, Paul Keating lights up whatever political stage he walks on. Veteran journalist Kerry O’Brien talks to Ellen Fanning about writing what may be the only biography of one of Australia’s most formidable leaders, a man whose vision transformed the economic and political landscape forever.

Speakers: Annabel Crabb and Leigh Sales

Talk: Our Reading Year

Date: Sunday 22 May, 11.30 am - 12.30 pm


Collage Crabb and Sales

Stars of the hit literary-culinary-miscellany podcast Chat 10 Looks 3, Annabel Crabb and Leigh Sales are back by popular demand. Join these two women-about-town for an hour of unreserved opinion giving and unapologetic wandering off script. Annabel and Leigh muse over their reading year – the books that delighted, surprised, inspired and frustrated them, and what they {would} have read if only there were more hours in the day. No name is too flashy to be dropped and no giggle is too trivial to be stifled in this special SWF sit-in.

Speaker: Sarah Ferguson

Talk: The Killing Season Uncut

Date: Sunday 22 May, 1.30 - 2.30 pm


Ferguson Sarah

Viewers were glued to each episode of Sarah Ferguson’s The Killing Season when it aired last year. The sometimes shocking, always riveting, account of how Labor imploded during the Rudd-Gillard-Rudd years has now been made into a book with further revelations. The Killing Season Uncut goes behind the scenes of the series, expanding the stories behind more than 100 interviews that told such a damning account of a party at war with itself. Sarah Ferguson discusses the tricks and trade secrets of interviewing Prime Ministers with fellow political journalist George Megalogenis.

Speaker: Bob Brown

Talk: On Optimism

Date: Sunday 22 May, 3.00 - 4.00 pm


Brown Bob c Russell Shakespeare

Bob Brown may have made his reputation as a Senator and Leader of the Greens, but his achievements and passions started much earlier and continue to grow. He has recently released two books. Green Nomads is a photographic journey of Australia’s magnificent Bush Heritage sites. His memoir Optimism is proof even politics can’t diminish his passion, activism or wit. He shares his love of Australia, nature and his belief in people power.

Speaker: Paul Kelly

Talk:  Seven Sonnets & A Song

Date: Sunday 22 May, 4.30 - 5.30 pm


Kelly Paul c Leon Morris

Paul Kelly is one of Australia’s pre-eminent singer-songwriters and wordsmiths, so it’s no surprise that his most treasured possession is a 20 kg three volume Collected works of William Shakespeare. The works within those pages have served as a deep influence throughout Paul’s 30 year career and have now found direct expression in his new album Seven Sonnets & A Song. Join Paul as he speaks about his passion for the bard, with actress, writer, Bell Shakespeare resident Kate Mulvaney.


Digital Boot camp is here!

Are you interested in accessing hundreds of popular eBooks, eMagazines, films and documentaries? What if you could access all these for FREE? Well you can - at your library of course!

Discover the wealth of FREE eServices available to you. Drop in anytime between 12.00 - 2.00 pm on:

Tuesday 24 May

Wednesday 25 May 

No bookings required, just turn up! 


reading book

We have regular events and programs across our libraries including author talks, technology workshops, music, family history research workshops and lots more. Watch this space for upcoming events!