The 2013 Sydney Writer’s Festival In Focus – Part 2

by |May 14, 2013

In the lead up to the 2013 Sydney Writer’s Festival we’ll be featuring a few of the key events we’re really looking forward to.

We’ve also highlighted some great books to prepare you before basking in the warm glow of the festival.

Here’s a couple of events that caught our eye…

Obama: The Digital Campaign

Who: Joe Rospars, Michael Brissenden, Stephen Muller

What: Who can forget Barack Obama’s historic 2008 and 2012 presidential campaigns, with their groundbreaking use of social media as a powerful political tool and its record-setting online fundraising successes. Barack Obama’s Chief Digital Strategist, Joe Rospars, and Stephen Muller, the Obama campaign’s Video Director, offer an overview of how the campaign managed to unite and mobilise 13 million online supporters toward a single goal of electing President Obama. Following the talk, they will speak to Michael Brissenden, who was the ABC’s Washington correspondent leading up to the 2012 election, and is the author of American Stories.

Why: There are two types of people in the western world. Those who embrace digital media, and those who don’t realise they’ve embraced digital media. Digital media now acts not only as the catalyst towards world events, but also the source of news reported, and the manner in which they are reported. Get the full story from people responsible for all three.

When: Thursday, May 23,  8:30 PM – 10:00 PM.

Where: City Recital Hall Angel Place, Angel Place, Sydney, $32/$25.

More Reading: Barack Obama: The Making of the ManThe New Digital Age.

Sane New World

Who: Ruby Wax

What: Ruby Wax – comedian, writer and mental health campaigner – shows us how our minds can jeopardise our sanity. With her own periods of depression and now a Masters from Oxford in Mindfulness-based Cognitive Therapy to draw from, she explains how our busy, chattering, self-critical thoughts drive us to anxiety and stress. If we are to break the cycle, we need to understand how our brains work, rewire our thinking and find calm in a frenetic world. Helping you become the master, not the slave, of your mind, here is Ruby Wax’s guidance to saner living. Followed by a conversation with Jude Kelly, Southbank Centre’s Artistic Director.

Why: Ruby Wax has been an award-winning writer and performer for over 30 years all over the world. Her past events in Australia have been met with sweeping acclaim and her honest and endearing style have made her a household name to millions.

When: Wednesday, May 22, 8:30 PM – 10:00 PM.

Where: Sydney Opera House, Joan Sutherland Theatre, Bennelong Point, Sydney$45/$35

More Reading: Sane New World

Stay tuned over the next couple of weeks as we look at more events that have caught our eye. To pick up tickets to any events featured or for more info go to

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About the Contributor

Andrew Cattanach is a regular contributor to The Booktopia Blog. He has been shortlisted for The Age Short Story Prize and was named a finalist for the 2015 Young Bookseller of the Year Award. He enjoys reading, writing and sleeping, though finds it difficult to do them all at once.

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