UNSW's partnership with the Sydney Writers' Festival has been essential in attracting some key authors to the event, says Festival director Chip Rolley.

"We wouldn't have some of these writers at the Festival if it weren't for our partnership with the University," he said. "We consider very carefully whether we want our partners to have this kind of involvement and in UNSW's case it has been very beneficial."

Rolley spoke with Phillipa McGuinness, Publishing Director at NewSouth Publishing at a UNSWriting event this week.

UNSW is the first university to be named a partner of the Sydney Writers' Festival which hosts 300 writers and 80,000 visitors annually.

Rolley discussed the involvement UNSW has in the programming of the Festival, in particular the "New Finnegans Wake" panel that includes Professor Ronan McDonald, director of the John Hume Institute of Global Irish Studies and reviewer for the Times Literary Supplement.

Texan born Rolley, who studied Chinese at UNSW, is a writer with a special interest in literature and Chinese politics and culture. He is a former vice president of Sydney PEN, an association of Australian writers, readers, publishers and human rights activists.

Numerous UNSW academics will act as panelists at the Festival, the fifth largest in the world, on topics ranging from anthropology, Indigenous Australians and James Joyce to pornography. The Festival will run from 16-22 May.

Next month UNSWriting will host a Festival event with British journalist, author, and screenwriter Emma Forrest in conversation with public intellectual and director of UNSW's Journalism and Media Research Centre, Professor Catharine Lumby. Forrest will be available to sign copies of her book Your Voice in My Head.

UNSWriting is hosted by the School of English, Media and Performing Arts in the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. It brings together writers, academics and students and encourages the flow of ideas between the University and the city.

Media contact: Fran Strachan | fran.strachan@unsw.edu.au | 9385 8732