Desi reads at this year’s Melbourne and Sydney Writers Festivals

Our picks from this year’s program, featuring prominent South Asian writers from within Australia and abroad.

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May is here, and with it two of the biggest events on the country’s literary calendar; the Melbourne Writers Festival (MWF) will take place from 4-7 May, and the Sydney Writers Festival (SWF) from 22-28 May.

Here are Indian Link’s picks for the South Asian writers, stories and conversations you don’t want to miss.

Shehan Karunatilaka – MWF and SWF

The 2022 Booker prize-winning writer will be stopping over in both Melbourne and Sydney to talk about his winning novel, The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida, a magic-realist satire set during the Sri Lankan civil war.  A headline event of both festivals, this novel has garnered international acclaim for its absurd, sardonic, and terrifying vignette of a country in chaos.

Osman Faruqi – MWF and SWF

Award winning journalist Osman Faruqi will be arguing for Team Sport as part of the MWF’s annual Big Debate: Sport vs Literature, before appearing on the Arc of Racism panel for the SWF.

Not to be missed is his SWF Curiosity Lecture, Australia’s War against Hip Hop, a timely oration following the NSW police’s recent hip-hop ban at the Sydney Royal Easter Show.

Raina Macintyre – SWF

Another iteration of the SWF Curiosity Lectures series held in collaboration with UNSW sees world-renowned epidemiologist and author of Dark Winter Professor Raina Macintyre examine the Past, Present and Future of Pandemics.

This is your chance to hear from one of the foremost voices in global biosecurity as she reflects on the lessons learnt from the last few years and glimpses what’s coming up in her field.

The Dinner That Changed My Life – SWF

Hosted by Annabel Crabb and Adam Liaw, this headline Sydney Town Hall event will see British restaurateur Asma Khan, author of Chinese-ish Rosheen Kaul, as well as founder of #plateitforward initiative Shaun Christie-David reveal the stories behind their most memorable dining experiences.

Sri Lankan Stories – SWF

A collaboration with UNSW, this panel discussion on the cultural effects of the Sri Lankan civil war features the aforementioned Shehan Karunatilaka, Counting and Cracking playwright S.Shakthidharan and lawyer and author of Song of the Sun God Shankari Chandran, in conversation with UNSW Creative Writing Lecturer Roanna Gonsalves.

These South Asian writers are part of the Melbourne Writers Festival, running from 4-7 May, and the Sydney Writers Festival, running from 22-28 May.

READ ALSO: Desi Girl by Sarah Malik

Lakshmi Ganapathy
Lakshmi Ganapathy
Lakshmi Ganapathy is an emerging journalist and theatre-maker based in Melbourne.

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