You can listen to recordings of events here
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Many many thanks to Mark Newman for recording and editing.
Authors represented below, in order, scroll down to download or listen: A C Grayling, Shelley Davidow, Malachy Tallack, Richard Fidler, Kari Gislason, Mireille Juchau, Elspeth Muir, Magda Szubanski, Paul Williams, Tim Flannery, Kate Holden, Kate Grenville, Olivera Simic, John Birmingham, Andrew MacMillen, Henry Reynolds, Ellen van Neerven, Graeme Simsion, Sally Piper, Karen Joy Fowler, Claire Dunn.
A C Grayling March 28 2017
A C Grayling is a genuine example of that much bandied about thing, a most remarkable man. Born in Rhodesia, raised in Nyasaland, he discovered a love for philosophy at the age of twelve, going on to study at ever more prestigious institutions, culminating in Magdelene College, Oxford.
Apart from being the author of thirty books he writes widely on contemporary issues, including war crimes, euthenasia, secularism, the legalisation of drugs and human rights. He founded the New College of The Humanities, an independent undergraduate college in London, where he is presently the Master, and was, just this year, awarded the Commander of the British Empire (CBE) for his services to philosophy.
His most recent book, The Age of Genius, the Seventeenth Century and the Invention of the Modern Mind, argues that the mind-set of modern times was established in the 1600s, amid terrible war and great injustice. His contention is that, despite such turmoil, this was the period in which ideas of magic and revelation, and the dead hand of religious law, first gave way to science and the rational, leading the way to the Enlightenment and the modern world as we know it. It is a work of philosophy but also of history, following the lives of some of the most significant figures from the period.
Shelley Davidow, March 28 2017
Shelley Davidow is the author of Whisperings in the Blood, a memoir in which immigrant voyages, repeated from one generation to the next, form the basis of an extraordinary story that explores the heartache and emotional legacies created by those who leave their homelands forever. It tells the story of her grandfather, Jacob Frank, who leaves his village in Lithuania to sail to America, of her mother, leaving America to go to South Africa, and her own voyage repeating these and other journeys before settling in Australia. Shelley now lives on the Sunshine Coast.
Malachy Tallack, March 1 2017
Malachy Tallack is from the Shetland Isles, as far north in Scotland as you can go. He attracted a lot of attention with his first book, 60 Degrees North, an account of his journey around the world along the line of the 60th latitude. It was a book that Robert MacFarlane described as brave and beautiful, chosen by BBC Radio 4 as Book of the Week. He was in Australia to promote his new work, The Un-Discovered Islands, a study on islands of imagination, deception and human error. Also well-known as a singer songwriter with four albums to his name, in the final ten minutes of this podcast Malachy plays a couple of his songs.
Richard Fidler, October 2016
Richard Fidler discusses his history of the Byzantine empire as described in his recent book Ghost Empire.
1 hour and five minutes.
Kari Gislason October 2016
Kari Gislason discusses his recent novel The Ashburner.
Kari and Richard Fidler, above, are good friends and travelled to Maleny for this event together (as they have to various parts of the world). Kari comes back on to the stage at the end of Richard Fidler's conversation to take questions.
Mireille Juchau July 2 2016
The World Without Us, Mireille's third novel, is set somewhere in the Hinterland of NSW's north coast, and concerns the Muller family, Stefan, Evangeline and their two daughters. Stefan, a beekeeper, is originally from Germany, while Evangeline grew up on a commune in the hills behind where they live. The story is woven around the absence of a third daughter, Pip, and the way they each deal with the grief her loss has provoked. At the same time it also braids within its cloth the radically changing landscape wrought by the work miners and loggers, as well as the mysterious failing of Stefan’s hives.
The novel has attracted remarkable reviews:
Alberto Manguel, writing in the Guardian says, Juchau’s style is perfectly poised, elegant and restrained. Almost any page of this astonishing novel offers proof of a writer of great poetic power… [it is] a revelation, a masterly story involving the refuge of silence, the fate of bees, and the shadows of old sins.
Elspeth muir july 2 2016
Tallking about her book Wasted, Text 2016
In 2009 Elspeth Muir’s youngest brother, Alexander, finished his last university exam and went out with some mates on the town. Later that night he wandered to the Story Bridge. He put his phone, wallet, T-shirt and thongs on the walkway, climbed over the railing, and jumped thirty metres into the Brisbane River below.
Three days passed before police divers pulled his body out of the water. When Alexander had drowned, his blood-alcohol reading was almost five times the legal limit for driving.
Why do some of us drink so much, and what happens when we do? Fewer young Australians are drinking heavily, but the rates of alcohol abuse and associated problems—from blackouts to sexual assaults and one-punch killings—are undiminished.
Magda Szubanski October 15 2015
Magda Szubanski is one of Australia’s most beloved performers, most famous for her role in Kath and Kim as Sharon Strzelecki, but also for her work in the comedy sketch programs Fast Forward, the D-Generation, and, of course, as Esme Hoggett in the film Babe.
In this new and extraordinary memoir, Reckoning, Magda describes her journey of self-discovery from a suburban childhood haunted by the demons of her father’s espionage activities and the secret awareness of her sexuality, to the complex dramas of adulthood and her need to find out the truth about herself and her family. With courage and compassion she addresses her own frailties and fears, and asks the big questions about life, about the shadows we inherit and the gifts we pass on. Heartbreaking, joyous, intimate and utterly captivating, Reckoning, announces the arrival of a fearless writer and natural storyteller. It will touch the lives of its readers.
Approximately 1 hour.
Paul Williams October 15 2015
Paul Williams is Program Coordinator in Creative Writing at Sunshine Coast University and the author of several short stories and novels. His most recent book is Cokcraco, an exhilarating, playful and witty novel about writing, identity and literary KritiKs.
Some comments from reviews:
'Ever since Don Quixote, novelists have been taking the piss. In Cokcraco Paul Williams does exactly that, turning the full beam of his satirical spotlight on the civil wars in university departments, the cultish bunkum of literary theory, the self-obsession of creative writing courses and the self-flagellation of white liberal guilt… a strange, funny, intelligent and quite unforgettable novel. What Flaubert did for parrots, Mr Williams has done for the humble roach.' Jeffrey Poacher
Tim Flannery September 8 2015
Professor Tim Flannery is one of Australia’s leading writers on climate change. An internationally acclaimed scientist, explorer and conservationist, he was named Australian of the Year in 2007.
He has held various academic positions including Professor at the University of Adelaide, director of the South Australian Museum in Adelaide, Principal Research Scientist at the Australian Museum and Visiting Chair in Australian Studies at Harvard University in the Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology.
His books include Throwim Way Leg, Here on Earth, The Future Eaters and The Weather Makers. Under the Gillard government he was appointed Climate Change Commissioner, with the specific task of communicating the science of climate change to the public, explaining the reasons why it is necessary to price carbon. In this podcast Professor Flannery talks about his new book The Atmosphere of Hope, which, in the lead up to the December talks in Paris, gives an overview of where climate science is now and what can be done.
Kate Holden September 8 2015
Kate Holden is the author of the memoirs In My Skin and The Romantic, Italian Nights and Days. In My Skin was nominated for many awards and was published in twelve countries. Her stories and columns have appeared regularly in The Age as well as The Monthly, Cleo, New Woman and the Weekend Australian.
Kate Grenville September 2 2015
Kate Grenville is one of Australia’s most popular and best-known writers. Her novel The Secret River won the Commonwealth Writer’s Prize and was short-listed for the Man Booker, the Miles Franklin and the IMPAC Awards. Her earlier novel, The Idea of Perfection, won The Orange Prize in 2001. Grenville’s other novels include Sarah Thornhill, The Lieutenant, Lilian’s Story, Dark Places and Joan Makes History.
In this podcast she discusses with Steven Lang her new book: One Life: My Mother's Story, a deeply moving homage to her mother by one of Australia’s finest writers.
Olivera Simic September 2 2015
Olivera Simic is the author of Surviving Peace, a Political Memoir, a heartfelt account of life before, during and after the Bosnian War and the NATO bombing of Serbia in 1999. Simić provides a greater understanding of the Balkan Wars while ensuring we don’t forget the horrors and enduring impact of any war. Combining an academic sensibility with personal experience she describes how she found the determination to build a new life when the old one was irretrievable.
JOHN BIRMINGHAM JULY 22 2015
John Birmingham is the author of the cult classic He Died With a Falafel in His Hand; the award-winning history Leviathan; the Axis of Time series and the Disappearance trilogy. He contributes to a wide range of newspapers and magazines including the Sydney Morning Herald, The Brisbane Times and The Monthly on topics as diverse as the future of coal (and media) as well as national security. He began his working life as a research officer with the Defence Department's Office of Special Clearances and Records.
In 2015 he's taken the radical step of publishing the three Dave Hooper books all at once (none of this business of waiting around for a year for the sequel with Mr Birmingham).
The starting point for these books is our insatiable thirst for energy… out in the Gulf of Mexico, the oil rigs are working overtime. One of them (Deepwater Horizon, if you like) has drilled too deep. But what they’ve released isn’t oil, it’s all the monsters of mythology, and I mean all of them, spewing out of holes broken through the wall between the worlds. Fortunately, or perhaps not, one of the things that emerged has got itself killed by Dave Hooper, the balding, overweight, over-sexed safety manager on the rig, and, in the moment of dying, has transferred its nature and power to him. The three novels (which Birmingham coyly states, get better with altitude) Emergence, Resistance and Ascendance follow the journey Dave has to make to save humanity, and himself.
The thing about Birmingham is that he has no, or few, pretensions. This extravagant scenario becomes, in his hands, a witty, clever, incredibly fast-paced re-working of the super-hero save-the-world-action genre.
Andrew Mcmillen July 22 2015
Andrew is a freelance journalist and author.
His first book, Talking Smack: Honest Conversations About Drugs, was published by UQP in July 2014.
He also hosts Penmanship, a podcast about Australian writing culture, which features in-depth interviews with Australians who earn a living from working with words.
Andrew’s journalism has been published in, amongst other places, Rolling Stone, Good Weekend, Wired, The Guardian, The Monthly, The Australian, Qweekend, GQ Australia, The Sydney Morning Herald, Backchannel and, just this week The Saturday Paper.
Henry Reynolds october 24 2014
Henry Reynolds is Australia’s pre-eminent historian. In the early eighties he single-handedly changed the way Australian history was conducted when he shone a light on the way the country had been settled with his book The Other Side of the Frontier.
His work prompted a flowering of study about Aboriginal-White relations throughout the two hundred years since white settlement. Reynolds himself went on to write more than twelve books focusing on the subject, including the best selling Why Weren’t We Told?, a very personal account of how he came to understand that he, like most people in Australia, had a distorted view of the country’s past. The research he undertook played a major part in the Wik and Mabo judgements, indeed he was a close friend of Eddie Mabo.
Mr Reynolds is in conversation here about his most recent book, Forgotten War. This work draws on the many studies undertaken in recent years to tell the story of the Frontier Wars, and to ask why it is there are no official memorials or commemorations to them; indeed, why it should be that it is even more controversial to discuss them now than it was a hundred years ago. Kate Grenville writes of the book: ‘A brilliant light shone into a dark forgetfulness: ground-breaking, authoritative, compelling.'
Ellen van Neerven October 24 2014
A conversation with last year’s David Unaipon Award winning author Ellen van Neerven about her debut novel Heat and Light. Ellen’s writing has appeared widely in publications such as McSweeney’s and the Review of Australian Fiction. She works at the State Library of Queensland as part of the ‘black&write’ Indigenous writing and editing project. She’s the editor of the digital collection Writing Black: New Indigenous Writing from Australia.
Graeme Simsion October 6 2014
Australian author Graeme Simsion’s first novel, The Rosie Project, was an international publishing phenomenon, selling over a million copies in more than forty countries. The novel's hero is, according to The Guardian, one of those rare fictional characters – like Adrian Mole or Bridget Jones – destined to take up residence in the popular consciousness. In the highly anticipated sequel, The Rosie Effect, Don Tillman and Rosie are married and living in New York. Don has been teaching while Rosie completes her secondyear at Columbia Medical School. Just as Don is about to announce that his philandering best friend from Australia is coming to stay, he discovers Rosie is pregnant.
Don instantly becomes an expert in all things obstetric. But between immersing himself in a new research study on parenting and implementing the Standardised Meal System (pregnancy version) Don’s old weaknesses resurface. While he strives to get the technicalities right he gets the emotions wrong, and risks losing Rosie.
Sally Piper October 6 2014
Sally's novel Grace's Table is a 'wise and tender novel about food, friendship and marriage...'
It's a delightful slow burn of a book, which places the kitchen at the centre of the home, the room in which nourishment is given and received and, in the end, everything is revealed.
‘the women in this novel don’t heed the rules for ageing quietly… they pull us into their past and present with their wise-cracking talk and acerbic wit...'
Kristina Olsson author of Boy Lost
Karen Joy Fowler 8 Sept 2014
Karen Joy Fowler is the author of six novels and four collections of short stories. She's the winner of several major awards, including two Nebulas and the PEN/Faulkner, this last for We Are All completely Beside Ourselves, the novel she was primarily discussing on her tour of Australia. At the time of the interview the book had been long-listed for the Man Booker Prize. Two days later it was bumped up into the short-list.
Karen is talking to Steven Lang.
Claire Dunn 8 Sept 2014
Claire is the author of My Year Without Matches, Escaping the City in Search of the Wild. She worked for many years as a campaigner for The Wilderness Society but is now a free-lance journalist, writing for The Age and the Sydney Morning Herald, while studying post-graduate psychology. Claire is passionate advocate for ‘rewilding’ our inner and outer landscapes and she facilitates nature based reconnection retreats and contemporary wilderness rites of passage. She currently lives in Newcastle.
Claire is talking to Steven Lang