Sydney Writers’ Festival is a week-long extravaganza of ideas and literature, with an extraordinary range of headlining international and local writers.  The 2016 Festival featured more than 450 of the world's greatest writers and thinkers. The heart of the Festival was once again at Walsh Bay on the Sydney Harbour, with other events stretching across Sydney - from the Opera House and Sydney Town Hall, into suburban Sydney and the Blue Mountains.

British Council Australia supported two Shakespeare-themed literature and music events during Sydney Writers' Festival 2016 to link Sydney to the global Shakespeare Lives programme of events and activities that mark the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare's death. 

On 19 May, multi-award-winning UK author Jeanette Winterson spoke to a crowd at the City Recital Hall about her new novel, 'The Gap of Time', a cover version of Shakespeare’s 'The Winter’s Tale'. Love, jealousy and estrangement are retold in the contemporary world of post-crash London. While the tale pays homage to the Bard, it also goes places only Jeanette can go, fusing lyricism, wisdom and imaginative whimsy. Watch our above video to hear Jeanette talk to us about her new novel and why she thinks Shakespeare's works are so successful in being able to withstand the test of time.

On 22 May, we also supported an event with one of Australia’s pre-eminent singer-songwriters and wordsmiths, Paul Kelly. Paul discussed his new work, 'Seven Sonnets & A Song' and spoke with actress, writer and Bell Shakespeare Fellow, Kate Mulvany about the continuing fascination with the Bard. Among Paul's most treasured possessions is a 20-kilogram, three volume Collected Works of William Shakespeare. The words within those pages have served as a deep influence throughout his 30-year career and have now found direct expression in his new album.

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