“On January 16 and 17, Sydney Writers’ Festival is back, with a summer showcase bringing the city the best of public discourse,” the festival’s artistic director, Michael Williams, said.

“There’ll be imaginings and arguments, polemics and poetry, declarations and conversations.”

The event will open with Booker Prize winner Douglas Stuart, live from New York in conversation about this debut masterpiece, Shuggie Bain.

The novel tells the story of the youngest of the three children, Shuggie, growing up with his alcoholic mother, Agnes, in the 1980s, in Thatcher-era post-industrial working-class Glasgow, Scotland.

Festival favourites Jennifer Byrne, Michael Mohammed Ahmad and Benjamin Law will also come together to discuss their favourite books of 2020.

Each presenter will choose one beloved classic, one obscure international gem, and one Australian release in danger of being overlooked in the noise of the coronavirus pandemic.

Sunday will include a family event featuring rapper, actor and children’s writer, Briggs, who will read his bestselling kids’ book, Our Home, Our Heartbeat.

Adapted from Briggs’ celebrated song The Children Came Back, the book is a celebration of past and present Indigenous legends, as well as emerging generations, and at its heart honours the oldest continuous culture on earth.

Briggs will be joined by fellow musician Archie Roach and more Indigenous storytellers to be announced shortly.

Last but not least, some of Australia’s smartest, most thoughtful, most imaginative writers will turn their thoughts to what we might reasonably expect from the next 12 months.

RN’s Health Report and Coronacast host Norman Swan, acclaimed Indigenous author Gayle Kennedy, multi-Walkley-winning investigative journalist Kate McClymont, award-winning writer Maxine Beneba Clarke and a panel of special guests will read the tea leaves, take some temperatures and share with guests their account of things to come.

For more information and bookings, visit the Sydney Writers’ Festival website.