It’s time to crack out those freshly purchased planners and fill them literary events! As well as our own workshops and courses, here’s what’s on our calendars for February. With everything from book launches to picnics, there’s bound to be something to suit everybody. Why not jump-start your creativity this year by immersing yourself our city’s writing circles?
1 February – Story Club
Stories about getting ahead of ourselves. Stories about running too fast. Stories about speaking too soon and speaking too much and under-thinking everything. And other stories. Featuring Zoe Norton Lodge, author of Almost Sincerely. From 7:45pm, 199 Cleveland St, Redfern. Tickets $20, get them here.
2 February – Poets at the Petersham Bowlo
A night of spoken word at the Petersham Bowling Club. Brave the open mic to share your innermost thoughts, or just come along and listen. 6:00-9:00pm, free entry. More details here.
4 February – Sex and Psychopaths
Kirsty Eagar and Justine Larbalestier are authors who pull no punches when it comes to their Young Adult fiction, choosing to examine facets of the world we live in rather than the one we’d like. Their new books Summer Skin and My Sister Rosa are no exception; setting a Girl meets Boy love story within the hook-up culture of campus life, and exploring the impossible vigilance forced on a seventeen-year-old who has correctly identified his sister as a psychopath. Join them as they discuss their writing in the context of their readership, and whether or not there is any such thing as ‘appropriate’ subject matter. From 6pm. Get more information and RSVP (essential) here.
6 February — Walter Mason in conversation with Michael Costello
Walter Mason, well known travel writer and interviewer, will chat with Sydney-based author Michael Costello about his new book, Season of Hate, at Ashfield Library. This novel is set in a small wheat town in western NSW and addresses discrimination and injustice. This ‘in conversation’ event is an opportunity to get an in-depth insight into Michael’s writing process. Free entry. Starts 11am, Local Studies Room (Level 2), Ashfield Library.
8 February – Little Fictions: It’s a Jungle Out There
The first Little Fictions show of 2016 is all about the animals – from moggies and doggies to budgies. Tales for humans from the animal kingdom. Come along to be treated to two hours of weird, whacky and moving stories of the animal/human nexus presented for your listening pleasure by our talented actors, with witty repartee from MC Adam Norris. Tickets $15, with part of that cost going towards the Sydney Dogs and Cats Home. Find out more here.
10 February — Graham Potts discusses No Free Man
Graham Potts has been known to have inspiration strike at inappropriate moments – such as when out on the wing of an aeroplane! That may sound as dangerous as one of his plots, but as an active member of the Royal Australian Air Force, it is merely an occupational hazard. Despite challenging and ongoing RAAF assignments, his inner strategist has finally acknowledged the truth: writing is his passion. Come along to hear him discuss his debut novel at the Sydney Mechanics’ School of Arts, 12:30-1:30pm. Free entry, but bookings essential.
10 February – Author Talk: Gabrielle Carey
Local author Gabrielle Carey talks about the reader-writer relationship and the books about them. Ashfield Library, 1:00-2:00pm, more information here.
11 February — Beth Yahp in conversation with Walter Mason
Author and scholar Beth Yahp will be in conversation with Walter Mason to talk about her autobiographical work Eat First, Talk Later, covering her Hakka Chinese heritage and her wider cultural experiences growing up in Malaysia, Paris and Australia. Guided by the family mantra, Beth explores the way food and places are intrinsically connected in her family’s history, discussing the not always compatible ideas of home and belonging, and the rituals of telling family and national stories, all anchored by the sheer joy of food. Woollahra Municipal Council, 6:00-8:30pm, register here.
13 February – Poetry Book Launch: Mark Marusic
Mark Marusic has lived in Sydney all his life and resides in Newtown. This is reflected in his poetry’s concerns and observations. He is politically aware, concerned for the environment and the disadvantaged. His work is imbued with nostalgia for social and cultural icons of the past, such as 60s music and decor. Mark examines how city architecture evolves like it’s his essential mission. Come see the launch of his new book, Iconoclastic Journeys, from 3:30pm at Gleebooks. More information and RSVP here.
23 February – Poets Picnic
Imagine and explore new paths and fresh starts, the life changes we all experience: from love to loss, and the possibilities that come with new learning and insight, both into our world and ourselves. Grab a rug, pack a picnic, and celebrate poetry under the stars by Sydney Harbour! ABC radio presenter Simon Marnie will host this fantastic free event, featuring witty, nostalgic, evocative poetry from iconic, established and new poets. Blackburn Gardens, Double Bay, 5:00-8:00pm. See the website for more details and to preorder your picnic hamper.
23 February – Finding Eliza: Power and Colonial Storytelling
A vital Indigenous perspective on colonial storytelling. Aboriginal lawyer, writer and filmmaker Larissa Behrendt has long been fascinated by the story of Eliza Fraser, who was purportedly captured by the Butchulla people after she was shipwrecked on their island off the Queensland coast in 1836. In this deeply personal book, Behrendt uses Eliza’s tale as a starting point to interrogate how Aboriginal people – and indigenous people of other countries – have been portrayed in their colonisers’ stories. Ultimately, Finding Eliza shows how these stories not only reflect the values of their storytellers but also reinforce those values – and how, in Australia, this has contributed to a complex racial divide. Gleebooks, 6pm, tickets $12, book here.
25 February – Writers Live
You are invited to meet Louise Williams as she introduces A True Story of the Great Escape, a gripping book about her uncle who was among the group of POWs who tunneled their way out of the supposedly escape-proof German camp in World War II. Louise has drawn on family records and extensive archival research to paint a moving account of John’s life, his experiences, and the extraordinary Great Escape. Berkelouw Books, Mona Vale, 6:30pm. Book tickets and get more information here.
25 February – Sydney Ideas: Fixing the System
Not strictly writing related, but this talk is sure to be fascinating. With five prime ministers in five years, and shocking truths coming to light daily about our institutions many fear our system is broken. ‘Griffith Review: Fixing the System’ brings together Peter van Onselen, GJ Stroud, Ann Arnold, and Tamson Pietsch to provide fresh insights. At University of Sydney, 6:00-7:30pm, see here for more information.
A little further from home…
18 – 21 February – Victorian Indigenous Literary Festival
This debut literary festival in Melbourne would be well worth the travel! Ideal for those passionate, or even just curious, about Indigenous culture, stories, and books. More than 20 events across three days, featuring 50+ Indigenous writers, storytellers, and performers. Most sessions free. See here for more information.
18 – 21 February – Perth Writers Festival
Bringing together writers, artists, activists and campaigners from around the globe, the 2016 Perth Writers Festival will have you thinking about the world and our place in it. See website for program and more information.
27 February – 3 March – Adelaide Writers’ Week
For more than 55 years the Adelaide Festival’s audiences have delighted in an outstanding mix of internationally acclaimed theatre productions, an eclectic array of world-class musicians, breathtaking dance pieces, renowned writers and striking visual arts displays. See website for program and more information.