Internationally celebrated novelist Alice Walker headlines this year’s Sydney Writers’ Festival, joining a line-up that includes Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan.
Gilligan’s talk on May 1 promises to give listeners a behind-the-scenes look at the making of one of the most acclaimed TV shows in recent history, hailed as “the best of the 21st century” by Stephen King.
Scottish author Irvine Welsh of Trainspotting fame and Andrew Solomon, whose latest book Far From the Tree tells the stories of hundreds of families affected by disability, will also present at the festival, which runs from May 19 to 25 and showcases more than 40 international writers and over 300 Australians.
Walker, author of The Color Purple and the first African-American woman to win the Pulitzer Prize, will appear at the Opera House, where she will be joined for an evening on stage by musician Archie Roach.
Other guests include Russian immigrant turned US literary celebrity Gary Shteyngart, author of Little Failure, Amy Tan, who tells a tale of love and family in The Valley of Amazement, and British comedian Sandi Toksvig who writes about modern manners in Peas & Queues.
Several of the world’s major award winners will also discuss their writing at the festival, including A.M. Homes, who won the International Women’s Prize for May We Be Forgiven, Eleanor Catton, and Lucy Hughes-Hallett, whose biography The Pike, who took out the Samuel Johnson Prize for Non-Fiction.
Pulitzer Prize winner Adam Johnson, whose The Orphan Masters Son is a fictional imagining of the North Korea, will be in conversation with Jang Jin-sung, a North Korean poet who defected to the south.
Iranian-American writer and scholar of religions, Reza Aslan, whose new book Zealot questions assumptions about Jesus, will speak about Iran and Israel with Ari Shavit, author of My Promised Land.
From France, the festival will welcome poet and novelist Jacques Roubaud, who will discuss the Oulipo, his intriguing literary group whose past members include luminaries Georges Perec and Italo Calvino.