A WORD FROM SISONKE
Our Literature & Ideas Curator has written a little something just for you
The Stevie Wonder song ‘Love’s in Need of Love Today’ was an integral part of my childhood.
At every family party it would be played at full blast and everyone would join in, singing along at the top of our voices until we were drowning out Stevie, belting out the lyrics which managed to be simultaneously saccharine and poignant:
Love’s in need of love today, don’t delay, send yours in right away. Hate’s goin’ round, breaking many hearts. Stop it please, before it’s gone too far.
I’m not a child anymore, but I am still drawn to the song, convinced more than ever that love as a public value is in jeopardy. Today – in the face of incredible polarisation – reclaiming love in public discourse is critically important. In many ways, the writers, thinkers, journalists and comedians we present to you in this year’s Literature & Ideas program represent our best effort to host conversations inspired by a publicly-minded spirit of love.
With large, overarching themes addressing Land, Money, Power and Sex, it is easy to assume that we are courting confrontation, anger and dissent. Nothing could be further from the truth. This program is grounded in a firm belief that at a time when so many important conversations are ugly and hysterical, love must play a more overt role in our public discussions. This is no excuse to avoid truth telling: we have asked our guests to bring their most loving, direct and clear selves to the table.
We are excited to introduce you to an international roster of writers from Indonesia, Bangladesh, Thailand, Nigeria and Pakistan whose books we love. Our national authors are equally diverse – they tell stories of a many-accented Australia, a country whose singular voice is inflected with Russian, Greek, the patois of the Caribbean, Afghani, Persian, Arabic and more. From in and around WA we are excited to present writers whose stories are both grounded here in Whadjuk Boodjar, even as they are deeply connected to the world beyond this place.
We hope you enjoy all the aspects of the program that remain familiar from previous years – the wonderful venue, the multiple sessions, the excellent books and brilliant writers. We hope too that you appreciate the slower and deeper pace. We have scheduled longer sessions and longer breaks between those sessions. We’ve done all of this in service of our belief that a feast cooked with love takes time.
CURATOR: LITERATURE & IDEAS
Sisonke is the author of two books - Always Another Country: A memoir of exile and home (Text Publishing, 2018) and The Resurrection of Winnie Mandela (Text Publishing, 2019). She has been published widely including in the Sydney Morning Herald, New York Times, Washington Post, Newsweek, Al Jazeera and other news outlets. Sisonke has held fellowships at Yale University, the Rockefeller Foundation, and the Aspen Institute. Since moving to Perth in 2014, she has worked with dozens of storytellers through her work with the Centre for Stories in Northbridge. Sisonke will work closely with Artistic Director Iain Grandage to create and curate a program of literature and ideas annually for Perth Festival.