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Rolley to leave SWF

The Sydney Writers’ Festival (SWF) has announced that current director Chip Rolley will leave the festival in August to take up the role of editor of the ABC’s The Drum.

Rolley joined SWF in 2010, taking over from previous director Wendy Were. ‘Rolley’s first festival in May 2010 smashed previous box office records,’ said a statement from SWF. ‘During Rolley’s tenure, the festival dramatically increased its night-time program, introduced new initiatives such as the Festival Club and the Viewing Lounge and set new records for ticket sales.’

Festival publicist Juliet Sidwell told Bookseller+Publisher that this year’s SWF also broke records, with more than 32,000 tickets sold before the end of the School Days program last week, the highest ticket sales on record for the festival.

SWF chair Deena Shiff said in a statement that the festival will ‘now commence a global search’ for a new director, ‘acknowledging that Chip has raised the bar on the qualities required of the artistic director of SWF’. Shiff said that SWF ‘is now squarely on the international stage as a world-leading event based in Sydney which international writers wish to attend’. She said the festival wishes Rolley well ‘in his new career at the ABC, and know[s] he will bring to The Drum the same discerning eye for the issues of the day as he brought to SWF’.

In a separate statement, ABC managing director Mark Scott welcomed Rolley to the ABC, saying he ‘has a wide range of interests including domestic and international politics, arts and culture, and comes to the ABC with an established record of attracting a diverse range of voices, both from Australia and overseas’. Rolley replaces outgoing editor Jonathan Green, who announced in March that he would be leaving the commentary website for a full-time role at Radio National.

As previously reported by Bookseller+Publisher, the current directors of the Brisbane Writers Festival, the Emerging Writers’ Festival and the Melbourne Writers Festival have all recently announced that this year’s festivals will be their last.



Category: Local news