We asked Festival favourite and one of Australia’s most beloved journalists, Annabel Crabb, who she’ll be lining up to see this year.

You can also see Annabel at the Festival interviewing Rachel Cusk, joining a great debate about Australia, sharing her hopes for a fairer, more sustainable future, and discussing the gender divide in Australian politics. 

In Annabel's words:

The True History of Peter Carey

One of the great Australian writers this Festival has brought within reach is Peter Carey, a man for whom a Booker nomination is just another day at the office. I’d go out of my way to hear him at any time, but especially so when in conversation with Sarah Krasnostein, who has established herself with the bestseller The Trauma Cleaner as one of Australia’s most acute and humane observers. This is a superb opportunity to watch two unique brains at work.

Within Reach Gala

One of the best-value tickets in the Festival. Essentially, you get a degustation menu of the Festival’s most intriguing guests, all speaking on the theme ‘Within Reach’. This lineup would never be within anyone’s reach at any other time – Tony Birch, Christos Tsiolkas, Geraldine Brooks, Sisonke Msimang, Trent Dalton, the list goes on. Take a seat and essentially the 2021 Festival comes to you. 

Are You There, Sydney? It’s Me, Judy Blume

I suddenly felt all twelve again when I learned that Judy Blume was on the SWF flight manifest. Imagine, as a writer, knowing that a generation of adults grew up consulting you on their private anxieties! Anyway she’s graciously agreed to speak at the Festival just to relive those awkward moments. Thanks Judy! You’re a star.


For a bit of fibre in your Festival diet, this session will tangle with some of the most awkward questions around publishing and social discourse today. Freedom of speech, power, privilege – all the messy stuff. Sophie Black marshals a panel well worth hearing from – Randa Abdel-Fattah, Jeff Sparrow and Kishor Napier-Raman.