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Sydney Writers’ Festival

climate-panel

Back from the SWF now. Didn’t actually get to go to anything much, other than events in which I was directly involved — the problem is that you are either preparing for sessions or recovering from them. Rjurik’s already posted something about the Greer event but there’s varying assessments of it floating around the web. Here‘s an assessment by Tara Moss (‘Greer’s speech was pointed, funny and full of zeal’); Guy Rundle was more critical in Crikey.

To be honest, I wasn’t really looking forward to the event on literary journals (with Meanjin and Griffith Review) cos it’s a panel that seems to have been done so many times. But it seemed to go pretty well, with a particularly interesting back and forth towards, in which people put forward different positions about the impact of the digital revolution. As for the event on climate change, well, they had to turn people away, which is always a good sign. David, Sharon and Tim spoke passionately and about half the session was given over to questions and answers. Someone was asking as to whether the thing was recorded. The answer is that I don’t know. There did seem to be lots of high-tech equipment about but I’m not sure as to what the SWF policy on podcasting actually is.

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Overland is a not-for-profit magazine with a proud history of supporting writers, and publishing ideas and voices often excluded from other places.

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Jeff Sparrow is the former editor of Overland. He is the co-author (with Jill Sparrow) of Radical Melbourne: A Secret History and Radical Melbourne 2: The Enemy Within, the editor (with Antony Loewenstein) of Left Turn: Essays for the New Left and the author of Communism: a love story, Killing: Misadventures in violence, and Money Shot: A Journey into Censorship and Porn.  On Twitter, he's @Jeff_Sparrow.

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  1. If Professor Greer had been billed as a stand-up comic, she’d have been fine. Making poorly researched genralisations about, for example, farmers and superannuation; indulging in fairly vicious ad hominem attacks on politicians; even drawing attention to her bag full of snotty tissues and the underpaid nature of her “workforce”: all this was funny, and maybe even challenging. But as a public intellectual, she struck me as close to contemptuous of her audience and of the whole enterprise of public debate.

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