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Sydney Writers' Festival

Updated 2 months ago

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Australia's largest celebration of literature, stories and ideas. Bringing together the world's best authors, leading public intellectuals, scientists, journalists and more.

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Australia's largest celebration of literature, stories and ideas. Bringing together the world's best authors, leading public intellectuals, scientists, journalists and more.

iTunes Ratings

5 Ratings
Average Ratings
4
1
0
0
0

iTunes Ratings

5 Ratings
Average Ratings
4
1
0
0
0
Cover image of Sydney Writers' Festival

Sydney Writers' Festival

Latest release on Aug 03, 2020

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Australia's largest celebration of literature, stories and ideas. Bringing together the world's best authors, leading public intellectuals, scientists, journalists and more.

Rank #1: Alison Whittaker: Opening Address

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Gomeroi poet, essayist and legal scholar Alison Whittaker takes us through the work of First Nations writers who would have joined us this week as she addresses the 2020 Sydney Writers’ Festival theme, Almost Midnight. She considers our fates – both personal and collective – in a world that feels like it's ending. She looks to the role of hope in our eleventh hour, discussing how storytelling charts triumphs and tragedies while the clock ticks on.

May 01 2020

19mins

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Rank #2: An Evening with Antony Beevor

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Pre-eminent British historian and one of the greatest chroniclers of the Second World War, Antony Beevor discusses his outstanding body of work, including his latest release, Arnhem. Antony served in the 11th Hussars before writing four novels and 12 books of non-fiction (including the gripping Stalingrad). His talent as a historian and storyteller have positioned him as Britain's number one bestselling historian, earned him countless awards, and a knighthood. He’s introduced by Kate Evans and talks about his gripping, authoritative works of military history – elucidating his superbly written and forensically researched account of the failed Allied paratroopers’ campaign to seize bridges leading to the Rhine in 1944, as detailed in his new bestseller. 

Aug 06 2019

55mins

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Rank #3: Graeme Simsion: The Rosie Result

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The Rosie Result is the triumphant final instalment of the internationally bestselling and much-loved Rosie trilogy by Graeme Simsion. This time, Don and Rosie have returned to Australia with a son who is struggling to fit in at school. Don enacts a plan to help, all the while contending with the Genetics Lecture Outrage, Rosie’s troubles at work and the opening of the world’s best cocktail bar. Simsion talks about the eagerly awaited finale of his hugely successful series with ABC RN’s Claire Nichols.

Aug 27 2019

1hr

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Rank #4: Ece Temelkuran: How to Lose a Country

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One of Europe’s most respected political thinkers, Turkish journalist Ece Temelkuran discusses How to Lose a Country: The 7 Steps from Democracy to Dictatorship, a field guide to spotting the insidious patterns and mechanisms of a rising populist wave, in conversation with Sally Warhaft. Weaving memoir, history and argument, she delivers an impassioned warning that populism and nationalism creep into government rather than arriving fully formed, while identifying the tools to root them out. This podcast is for anyone who thinks it couldn’t happen here.

Nov 27 2019

58mins

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Rank #5: Malcolm Turnbull in Conversation with Annabel Crabb

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In the past decade of climate and energy warfare in Australian federal politics, Malcolm Turnbull – the nation’s 29th prime minister – is the only leader to have lost his job over the issue twice. In his new memoir, A Bigger Picture, Turnbull reflects upon the state of political reform and delivers his own, candid account of his time in politics and the action-packed career in law, media and business that preceded it. Malcolm Turnbull speaks with Annabel Crabb. This podcast is a recording of our live-streamed event.

Apr 30 2020

1hr 10mins

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Rank #6: The Writers' Lie

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Essayist and novelist Alexander Chee (described as "masterful" by Roxane Gay) and 2018 Pulitzer Prize winner Andrew Sean Greer join The National Book Foundation's Lisa Lucas to discuss what fiction leads them to believe, and the white lies readers and writers tell themselves. 

Aug 27 2019

55mins

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Rank #7: Helen Garner's Diaries

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It is not surprising that Helen Garner has kept a diary for almost all of her life – chronicling her thoughts, observations, frustrations and joys. Beginning in the late 1970s, following the publication of Monkey Grip, these accounts of her everyday life invite us into the world behind her celebrated work. In this special podcast, hear Helen in conversation with Michael Williams for an intimate insight into the mind of one of our greatest writers.

Dec 05 2019

1hr

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Rank #8: Women's Work

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By calling out the ‘slut-shaming’ she received from male parliamentarians, Senator and En Garde author Sarah Hanson-Young sparked a national conversation about sexism in politics. So, what happens when women work together to make change? Kate Wild explores the topic with Sarah Hanson-Young, Accidental Feminist author Jane Caro, and author of Witches Sam George-Allen, in an exploration of workplaces, industries and social groups that dismantles the myth of female isolation.

Aug 11 2019

51mins

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Rank #9: Jeff Sparrow: On Why Free Speech is an Industrial Issue – Curiosity Lecture Series

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In an age when you can be sacked for an inflammatory Twitter post, people are asked to sign ‘morality clauses’, and media ownership remains in the hands of a select few, it seems that the powerful are increasingly able to redraw the boundaries of free speech. Guardian Australia columnist and Trigger Warnings author Jeff Sparrow argues that in an economy in which our labour is the prime commodity, employers and the powers that be are more able than ever to monitor individual expression, making free speech a crucial industrial issue.

Jan 20 2020

36mins

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Rank #10: Ann Patchett and Kevin Wilson: A Conversation with Friends

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Two of the most acclaimed writers in fiction today, Ann Patchett (The Dutch House) and Kevin Wilson (Nothing to See Here) have been close friends for more than 20 years. In a rare and intimate glimpse into their literary and personal bond, the beloved Tennessean authors share stories of their friendship, their deep admiration of each other’s work and how they both explore the theme of family through their fiction.

May 01 2020

32mins

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Rank #11: Alexander Chee: How to Write an Autobiographical Novel

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Reckoning with his identity as a Korean–American, gay man, activist and artist, Alexander Chee examines everything from his father’s death to the AIDS crisis to moonlighting as a Tarot reader in his non-fiction essay collection, How to Write an Autobiographical Novel. Join the author described as "masterful" by Roxane Gay and "incendiary" by The New York Times as he discusses his commanding, heartbreaking and wry work with Ronnie Scott.

Nov 11 2019

1hr

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Rank #12: Rachel Kushner: The Mars Room

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From the bestselling author of The Flamethrowers comes the Man Booker Prize shortlisted The Mars Room, an unflinching portrait of a young woman’s life in a Californian prison where inmates must hustle and fight for the bare necessities. Rachel Kushner discusses her fearless black comedy about love, friendship and the illusion of free will with Wheeler Centre Director Michael Williams.

Nov 11 2019

59mins

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Rank #13: Inside Stories

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Literary star Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah and acclaimed author of The Flamethrowers Rachel Kushner didn’t shy away from taking on big issues – inequality, racism and a faulty justice system – in their fearless bestselling books: Friday Black and The Mars Room. They speak with the National Book Foundation’s Lisa Lucas to discuss the influence and scope of storytelling and how fiction can be used to connect readers to real-world issues.

Dec 11 2019

1hr 1min

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Rank #14: The Right Way Up: Populism in Australia

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While most think of Australia as a successful democracy underpinned by liberal values, it’s increasingly clear that we may not be immune from the global rise of xenophobic and nativist forces. Some are concerned that populism is pulling the Liberal Party and sections of our media to the right and will have implications for years to come. Associate Professor David Blaazer speaks with The Rise of the Right author and one-time Liberal Party adviser Greg Barns, writer for the ABC and Guardian Australia Jennine Khalik, former Greens senator Scott Ludlam and political writer George Megalogenis about the issue.

Jan 06 2020

1hr

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Rank #15: Kerry O’Brien: A Memoir

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Kerry O’Brien, A Memoir is an honest and intimate account of the upheavals and personalities who made history during Kerry’s five-decade journalistic career. It includes memorable encounters with everyone from Thatcher to Obama, reflections on the 13 prime ministers he has seen come and go, and insights into the powerful people he called to account without fear or favour. In conversation with ABC Radio’s Philip Clark, Kerry discusses the greatest joys and toughest moments of his career, and appraises the state of play in Canberra today.

Jan 06 2020

1hr

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Rank #16: Bryan Washington: On Murakami – Curiosity Lecture Series

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One of America’s newest literary stars, Bryan Washington (Lot) looks to Haruki Murakami and other modern storytellers to explore how surreal elements enrich the narratives of everyday life and magnify its strangeness. He connects Murakami’s structurally loose novels (Kafka on the Shore) and those where he keeps a steady hand (Norwegian Wood) with contemporary stories on page and screen. He particularly focuses on those stories with minority protagonists – including Atlanta and Coco – where fantastical elements add feeling and weight.

Jan 12 2020

34mins

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Sophie McNeill: We Can’t Say We Didn’t Know

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For more than 15 years, Walkley Award–winning journalist Sophie McNeill has reported on some of the most war-ravaged and oppressive places on earth, including Syria, Gaza and Iraq. Her memoir, We Can’t Say We Didn’t Know tells the human stories behind the headlines – from Saudi women seeking asylum to imprisoned Uyghurs and Hong Kong protesters – and reflects more broadly on what happens when evidence and facts become debatable, and why disinformation and impunity now reign supreme. Australia Director at Human Rights Watch Elaine Pearson joins Sophie in conversation.

Aug 03 2020

49mins

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Tanya Talaga: All Our Relations

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From Canada and Brazil to Norway and Australia, the Indigenous experience in colonised nations holds startling – and deeply disturbing – similarities. The bestselling and award-winning All Our Relations: Indigenous trauma in the shadow of colonialism, by Anishinaabe and Polish Canadian journalist Tanya Talaga, skilfully folds together reportage and storytelling. In doing so, it shines a light on how racism and intergenerational trauma have produced a global crisis underscored by alarmingly high youth suicide rates. As part of the Stories Worth Telling series, Tanya speaks with Kamilaroi woman and Sydney Morning Herald Indigenous affairs reporter Ella Archibald-Binge about her powerful call for action, justice and a more equitable world for Indigenous peoples.

Stories Worth Telling is a series created by the Judith Neilson Institute for Journalism & Ideas and Sydney Writers’ Festival.

Jul 29 2020

31mins

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Remembering Christchurch

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On Friday 15 March 2019, an Australian-born white supremacist entered two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand and massacred 51 Muslims peacefully conducting their sacred Friday prayers. One year after the Christchurch attacks, Muslim writers in Australia and around the world have confronted such heinous crimes with the most powerful tool at their disposal: the pen. In this urgent public dialogue, some of our greatest writers discuss the role that literature plays in defeating the rise of white supremacy, Islamophobia and xenophobia within modern western societies. Journalist and editor of the 7am podcast Osman Faruqi speaks with New Zealand Greens MP and author of Know Your Place Golriz Ghahraman, journalist and author of the critically acclaimed book White Tears/Brown Scars Ruby Hamad, award-winning author of The Tribe and The Lebs Michael Mohammed Ahmad, and writer and Sweatshop Women contributor Naima Ibrahim. 

Jul 27 2020

1hr

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Animals Like Us

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Jo Lennan and Laura Jean McKay have written two brilliant, wholly original books that examine humanity and animality as a wave of extinctions gathers force. They are joined by the Wheeler Centre’s Veronica Sullivan to discuss how their work invites us to rethink our relationship with animals and why our fate is tied to the creatures we share the planet with. The stories in Jo’s In the Time of Foxes are united by the clever, dangerous spirit of the fox. Laura’s The Animals in That Country conjures an Australia in which the victims of a pandemic begin to understand the language of animals.

Jul 25 2020

39mins

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David Mitchell: Utopia Avenue

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Twice shortlisted for the Booker Prize, David Mitchell is beloved by millions of readers around the world for his spectacular, visionary books including Cloud AtlasThe Bone Clocks and number9dream. In conversation with Michael Williams, David discusses his enthralling new novel, Utopia Avenue, which celebrates the power of music to connect across divides, define an era and thrill the soul.

Jul 22 2020

1hr 8mins

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Layla F. Saad: Me and White Supremacy

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In 2018, Layla F. Saad ran a 28-day Instagram challenge under the hashtag #MeAndWhiteSupremacy, designed to encourage those with white privilege to unflinchingly examine their complicity in upholding an oppressive power system. The challenge catalysed an awakening for thousands and led to the publication of Layla’s Me and White Supremacy, “an indispensable resource for white people who want to challenge white supremacy but don’t know where to begin” (Robin DiAngelo, White Fragility). Layla provides insight into her work in conversation with Rachael Hocking.

Jul 16 2020

54mins

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Julia Gillard: Women and Leadership

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Women and Leadership, co-authored by Julia Gillard and acclaimed development economist Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, combines research with interviews with some of the world’s extraordinary women leaders. It examines the influence of gender on women’s access to positions of leadership, the trajectory of their leadership and the circumstances in which it can come to an end. Julia talks to Jacqueline Maley about the radical shift required to close the gender gap, and her inspirational new book that she hopes will provide an action agenda for change. 

Jul 15 2020

56mins

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Flocks and Fakes

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The dark arts of online deception run the gamut from love rats and confidence tricksters to dedicated political disinformation campaigns. Hear memoirist Stephanie Wood (Fake) and Soviet-born British journalist Peter Pomerantsev (This is Not Propaganda) in conversation with Rebecca Giggs. They consider the scale of these manipulations, how they impact personal lives, and how identity – and intimacy – are changing in the information age. Together, they examine our faith in facts and the difference between self-promotion and outright deception.

Jul 14 2020

48mins

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Remembering Clive James

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Clive James died in November 2019, leaving behind an unrivalled legacy of books, poetry, prose, essays and memoirs, as well as golden moments of television broadcasts and cultural criticism that showcased his gift for the knockout aphorism. Join a panel of Clive’s friends and fellow writers as they read a selection of work from the ‘Kid from Kogarah’, share stories and celebrate his life. Featuring Paul Muldoon, Peter Goldsworthy, Kathy Lette, Richard Glover, and host Trent Dalton. 

Jul 08 2020

53mins

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Golriz Ghahraman: Know Your Place

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Golriz Ghahraman’s memoir Know Your Place tells her powerful story of becoming the first refugee elected to New Zealand’s parliament. Since her election, the former UN lawyer and Iranian-Kiwi asylum seeker has received a barrage of hate that intensified after the Christchurch terrorist attack, impacting her life, employment and wellbeing. In conversation with Roanna Gonsalves, Golriz shares her story and reflects on how the freedom of speech debate is silencing those without power while amplifying the voices of those who already have it.

Jul 06 2020

52mins

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Lisa Taddeo: Three Women

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Based on almost a decade of immersive research, Lisa Taddeo’s Three Women is a bestselling work of narrative non-fiction that traces the private lives of three ordinary American women. Its many fans include Elizabeth Gilbert, who called it “a non-fiction literary masterpiece at the same level as In Cold Blood – and just as suspenseful, bone-chilling and harrowing”. In conversation with Sophie Black, Lisa offers insights into her groundbreaking portrait of sex and love, which illuminates unmet needs, unspoken thoughts and unrelenting obsessions.

Jul 01 2020

50mins

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Kawai Strong Washburn: Sharks in the Time of Saviours

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Delicately balancing Hawaiian myth and the broken American dream, Kawai Strong Washburn’s Sharks in the Time of Saviours has been hailed by novelist Marlon James as a “ferocious debut” in which “old myths clash with new realities, love is in a ride or die with grief [and] faith rubs hard against magic”. Kawai joins Winnie Dunn to discuss his lush, virtuosic portrait of Hawaiian identity, mythology and diaspora that examines what it means to be both of a place and a stranger in it.

Jun 29 2020

52mins

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Paul Kelly: Love is Strong as Death

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Writer Tony Birch talks with singer, songwriter and national treasure Paul Kelly about his new collection, Love is Strong as Death: Poems chosen by Paul Kelly. Featuring more than 300 works from a range of ancient and modern authors, the deeply moving anthology speaks to the themes that have proven so powerful in Paul’s own music: love, death and everything in between. Hear Paul discuss this lovingly curated tome and reflect on how poetry has influenced his life and music.

Jun 24 2020

1hr 1min

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Kathy Lette Gets Candid

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Since writing Puberty Blues as a teenager, Kathy Lette has seen her definitive story of Australian teenagers navigating the chaos of life adapted into a cult movie and a major television series. Kathy has gone on to pen 11 global bestsellers, including Mad Cows and The Boy Who Fell To Earth, a story inspired by her son Julius, who lives with autism. Ever entertaining, Kathy discusses her storied life, her pioneering of popular feminist fiction and her newest novel, HRT: Husband Replacement Therapy, with ABC Radio Sydney’s Wendy Harmer.

Jun 22 2020

50mins

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Writing on a Knife's Edge

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In a session dedicated to the craft of genre writing, two experts join ABC Radio’s Rhianna Patrick to uncover what it really takes to deliver a tightly plotted narrative. Sarah Epstein (Deep Water) and Astrid Scholte (The Vanishing Deep) have made an art form out of testing their characters’ limits and finding new ways to torment both them and their readers. Find out how the tropes and narrative devices familiar to lovers of fantasy, science fiction and thrillers allow these writers to carve out inventive and thrilling plots of their own.

This conversation is part of our YA podcast series.

Jun 17 2020

45mins

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Chris Hammer: Silver

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A leader in Australian noir, bestselling Scrublands author Chris Hammer is the winner of the Crime Writers’ Association John Creasey (New Blood) Dagger award. In Silver, flawed protagonist Martin Scarsden returns to his hometown to discover his former school friend lying on the floor of his girlfriend’s house with a knife plunged into his back and a postcard in his hand. Chris talks with Guardian Australia’s Paul Daley about his enthralling and propulsive new thriller.

Jun 17 2020

46mins

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Vivian Pham: The Coconut Children

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A vivid picture of Cabramatta, The Coconut Children is a powerful ode to modern Australia by debut novelist Vivian Pham. It has elicited praise from the likes of Dave Eggers, who hailed it as a “deeply felt and intimate coming-of-age novel” by “one of the indispensable voices of her generation”, while Paul Kelly called it “fierce, frank and funny”. Sheila Ngoc Pham joins Vivian to discuss her urgent, moving and wise debut by an exciting new voice in Australian fiction.

Jun 15 2020

46mins

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Bob Brown: Planet Earth

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Bob Brown led the Australian Greens from the party's foundation in 1992 until April 2012. Bob was elected to the Australian Senate in 1996. He was also the first openly gay member of the Parliament of Australia, and the first openly gay leader of an Australian political party. In 2012 Bob stepped down as Leader of the Australian Greens, and then retired from the Senate. Since then he has continued to campaign on conservation issues across Australia and the world. Bob discusses his life’s work and his new book Planet Earth with fellow environmental advocate Scott Ludlam. Bob’s words are a clear message on the issues facing our planet and his positive approach is an inspiration to us all. 

Jun 11 2020

42mins

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Eimear McBride: Strange Hotel

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A masterful work of emotional force from one of the greatest, most daring contemporary writers, Strange Hotel is the blistering new novel from Eimear McBride, the Women’s Prize for Fiction–winning author of A Girl is a Half-formed Thing. The story follows a nameless woman as she enters various hotel suites, and is forced to reckon with the turning tides of a life she’s tried desperately to escape. Heather Rose meets the author Anne Enright has called “that old-fashioned thing, a genius”.

Jun 09 2020

44mins

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Kay Kerr: Please Don't Hug Me

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Kay Kerr’s debut young adult novel, Please Don’t Hug Me, explores love, loss and friendship through the eyes of Erin, a young woman on the autism spectrum. Kay joins Anna Whateley, a fellow neurodivergent author, for a funny, warm and enlightening conversation about Please Don’t Hug Me, the joys and complexities of writing the teen experience, and the importance of the #ownvoices movement in YA literature.

This conversation is part of our YA podcast series.

Jun 03 2020

41mins

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iTunes Ratings

5 Ratings
Average Ratings
4
1
0
0
0