The Alt Write
Our favourite writers move us and inspire us: our imaginations, our humanity, our understanding of the world. But sometimes their writerly purpose can carry a little more bite. What is the role for the writer as shit-stirrer and agitator, provocateur and agent for change?
For this all-star panel, we’re bringing together four incredible writers and contrarians. With host Michael Williams, our panellists – Roxane Gay, John Safran, George Saunders and Brit Bennett – will discuss how they push against platitude, prejudice and power in their writing. Are we living in a ‘post-truth’ era of degraded language, where the integrity of words and meaning are under siege? Is it just the nature of language? Is meaning always up for grabs?
And, in such an age, what, if anything, is the responsibility of the writer? Is it to change minds? Or even the world? These four very different writers – whose work traverses overt provocation, subtle subversion and radical inclusion will get down to the nitty gritty of the politics and purpose of the act of writing. Join us for this timely discussion with a stellar line-up of intrepid and original thinkers.
George Saunders is the author of nine books, including Tenth of December, which was a finalist for the National Book Award and won the inaugural Folio Prize (for the best work of fiction in English) and the Story Prize (best short-story collection). He has received MacArthur and Guggenheim fellows... Read more
Born and raised in Southern California, Brit Bennett graduated from Stanford University and later earned her MFA in fiction at the University of Michigan, where she won a Hopwood Award in Graduate Short Fiction as well as the 2014 Hurston/Wright Award for College Writers. Her work is featured in&nbs... Read more
Roxane Gay is the author of the novel An Untamed State, Bad Feminist: Essays and the story collection Ayiti. Her work has also appeared in Glamour, Best American Short Stories, and the New York Times Book Review. She is the co-editor of PANK. ... Read more
John Safran is a writer and filmmaker who always gets in too deep for his own good. His debut book, Murder in Mississippi, won the Ned Kelly Award for best true crime. His follow up, Depends What You Mean by Extremist, found him lost among radicals and was shortlisted for the Australian Book Industr... Read more
Michael Williams joined Sydney Writers’ Festival in September 2020, as the Artistic Director navigating the post-pandemic landscape going into the 2021 festival. He has spent the past decade at the Wheeler Centre for Books, Writing and Ideas in Melbourne; as its founding Head of Programming in 200... Read more
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