Sydney is a sick city. The lurgy is
sweeping through the Harbour city, while the headliners of the Writers’
Festival are falling like flies.

On Monday, Amanda Lohrey
slipped over and injured her back, forcing her out of her engagement as
keynote speaker at the Premier’s Literary Awards. Then a number of
guests at the event complained of ailments the next day – and fingers
were pointed at allegedly dodgy wine served at Parliament House during
the event.

Now, aged curmudgeon Harold Bloom has cancelled his
appearance. He was to have apeared via satellite from New York, but
apparently, like the legendary Jeffery Bernard, is unwell.

next? It appears the only participant in top form is part-time Premier
Bob Carr, who appeared at a festival forum in Newcastle yesterday.