(10am, Wednesday 30 April 2014, North West Boardwalk, Sydney Opera House)
Thank you, Ben [Strout]. Good morning, everyone, welcome to the launch.
I'd also like to acknowledge Jemma Birrell, the festival's artistic director, and also Vince Gilligan, creator of that amazing global hit, Breaking Bad. Welcome to Sydney, Vince. You have a huge following here, as well.
The City is proud to continue our sponsorship of the Festival as one manifestation of our lively cultural life and the many festivals, events and exhibitions that both express and foster Sydney as a creative city.
Our sponsorship has grown in dollar terms to well over $400,000 this year but we also support the festival in other ways.
Notably, we're putting literature on the streets again this year, with our garbage trucks, display boards and bus shelters featuring powerful and thought-provoking quotations from some of the leading writers - local and overseas - who will be at this year's festival.
I'm pleased to see one of them - "I am not in danger, Skyler. I am the danger" - comes from our guest Vince Gilligan.
Another that appeals to me, as we try to find new and sustainable ways of doing things, comes from Irvine Welsh: "As Einstein said, the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results."
And then there's the wonderful David Malouf, writing in An Imaginary Life: "So these things happen, deep in our lives. We do not speak of them. We hide them, even from ourselves, but they do not leave us."
The quotes were selected by Jemma and include the words of Amy Tan, Christos Tsiolkas and Richard Flanagan, among others.
You'll see some of them on the trucks a couple of our teams have brought here today.
By putting them in unexpected places, we hope people will be alerted to the festival, and to the riches of books and reading. Hopefully some will want to find the source of the quotations and so will be led to books or authors they may not otherwise have discovered.
These quotes also send the message that literature can be a richly rewarding part of everyday life, not something closeted away in its own rarefied world.
Indeed, Sydney Writers' Festival brings together the most eclectic assortment of people from every walk of life right across our city and they'll gather at Walsh Bay, at the Observatory, at Town Hall and our City Recital Hall to listen, to argue, to be inspired.
It's a fabulous, week-long feast that inspires us all, and it will certainly continue as one of the premier events our new Cultural Policy celebrates.
I'll look forward to seeing you there.