At the exhausted end of a six-week political campaign, Sydney Writers Festival will be a space for a different type of conversation.

Whether you’re still in full political swing or looking for a shred of normalcy, we have the people – speakers and audiences alike – we’d most advise bunkering down with. Readers: curious, generous, well-informed, imaginative and empathetic. Speakers: prescient, well-versed, vigorous and rousing. It’s a match made in heaven if we do say so ourselves.

Did we mention there would be a sausage sizzle at Carriageworks?

Polling stations

Multiple polling stations will be located within walking distance of our Festival Hub at Carriageworks on Election Day, the closest of which are Darlington Public School and Redfern Town Hall.

Use this interactive map to help you locate the most convenient one for you.

  • Darlington Public School (3-minute walk)
  • Redfern Town Hall (9-minute walk)

Discussion, debate and democracy

For those with a fire in their belly, unable to shake off the fever dream of the political horse race, we have a bevy of sessions that speak – with intelligence and care, consideration and empathy – to the kind of society we are and how we might plan for what comes next. Whether it’s last-minute policy unscrambling or post-election kick-ons – we’ve got you covered.


Barrie Cassidy & Friends: Election 2022 - Saturday 21 May, 10am

How better to make sense of our latest national orgy of democracy than with veteran journo and Festival favourite Barrie Cassidy and his hand-chosen team of the country’s best commentators?

As essential as a democracy sausage, there is no better panel with which to unpick the state of national discourse and national politics on election day itself. Joining Barrie are Fran Kelly, Niki Savva and Amy Remeikis.


Making Fun of Politics - Saturday 21 May, 12:00pm

As a sentence, "you have to laugh..." is usually a precursor to the words "...or you'd cry" and it's hard to think of a more apt context for that sentence than the world of politics.

Hosted by Ange Lavoipierre, Shaun Micallef ('Mad as Hell'), Vic Zerbst ('The Feed'), Mark Humphries and Jenna Owen ('The Feed') talk about putting the 'fun' in 'is our political system fundamentally broken?'

Looking to escape the political mania?

For those wanting to escape for the rest of the weekend, who don’t believe there’s anything left to say, we have joy and art, laughter and imagination.

Distractions aplenty, conversations lofty and delightful company, we offer you a worthwhile place to rest your attention.


Small Town, Big Secrets – Saturday 21 May, 2pm

There’s no greater thrill than opening a crime fiction novel to find it’s set in a small country town in the vast, beguiling outback. Be transported to a world of tightly held family secrets and an ominous sense of isolation, a world of gripping crime fiction. 

Hear three exceptional crime writers, Garry Disher (The Way It Is Now), Aoife Clifford (When We Fall) and Hayley Scrivenor (Dirt Town), sit down with ABC RN’s Kate Evans to discuss the small-town settings of their new crime novels.


The Limits of Imagination – Saturday 21 May, 4pm

Join a vital, expansive discussion centred on the generations-old writerly imperative to ‘write what you know’. And as the cultural sphere expands and more voices are finding new avenues to publication and readership, that advice has become much more loaded. 

Concerns about cultural appropriation, integrity and authenticity – about who gets to tell a story, and who owns it – now dominate conversations about literary endeavour and value. 

Booker Prize–winner Damon Galgut (The Promise), Larissa Behrendt (After Story) and Paige Clark (She Is Haunted) join host Sisonke Msimang to ask: what are the responsibilities and opportunities of the creative writer and artist, and does imagination have its limits? 

On Second Thought - Saturday 21 May, 6.30pm

What if Twitter were a parlour game, and instead of adding to a rapidly refreshing timeline you had a chance to rethink that thought?

Bound to amuse, entertain and interrogate, watch some of your favourite writers think out loud. Sydney Writers’ Festival Guest Curator Fiona Murphy is joined by Rick Morton, Osman Faruqi and Amy Thunig.