It was four days ago the Sydney Writers’ Festival launched a prescient program bringing together 437 writers from 14 countries who would appear across 346 events to discuss the world’s precarious lurch towards crisis.

On Monday night, artistic director Michaela McGuire announced its cancellation – the latest of many arts events to fall foul of the coronavirus crisis – conceding it was both “impossible and inadvisable” to proceed.

“This is an unprecedented, deeply upsetting and challenging time for everyone, but the health and safety of writers, audiences, staff, publishers, volunteers and our community must come first,” McGuire said.

The festival’s Primary and Secondary Schools Days, from May 4 to 7, as well as Student Sessions, were also cancelled.

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