Episodes
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. 
Published 07/08/20
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...
Published 07/06/20
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...
Published 07/01/20
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.
Published 06/29/20
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.
Published 06/24/20
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...
Published 06/22/20
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...
Published 06/17/20
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.
Published 06/17/20
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.
Published 06/15/20
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...
Published 06/11/20
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”.
Published 06/09/20
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.
Published 06/03/20
Truganini tells the haunting story of the extraordinary woman behind the myth of ‘the last Aboriginal Tasmanian’. Scholar and award-winning author Cassandra Pybus draws from original eyewitness accounts to paint a complex picture of Truganini’s remarkable life. In conversation with Jakelin Troy, Cassandra discusses her inspiring and heart-wrenching account of a lively, intelligent young woman who survived the devastating decade of the 1820s, when the clans of southeastern Tasmania were all...
Published 06/03/20
An exquisitely beautiful and deeply affecting exploration of connection and loss in an age of planetary trauma, Ghost Species is the latest novel by prize-winning author and critic James Bradley. When scientist Kate Larkin joins a secretive project to re-engineer the climate by resurrecting extinct species, she becomes enmeshed in a clandestine program to recreate our long-lost species, the Neanderthals. James talks with ABC Radio’s Cassie McCullagh about the novel that Charlotte Woods...
Published 06/01/20
The Ratline: Love, Lies and Justice on the Trail of a Nazi Fugitive is the exhilarating follow-up to the bestselling East West Street from Philippe Sands, who sets out to uncover what happened to Nazi fugitive Otto von Wächter. Philippe – a professor of law and practising barrister who has worked on international cases involving Pinochet, Yugoslavia and Rwanda – joins Janice Petersen to discuss this page-turning detective story, which encompasses a mysterious death, spies, Nazi hunters, dark...
Published 05/27/20
An explosive and unforgettable novel, Sweetness and Light confirms Liam Pieper’s place as one of our country’s finest, sharpest writers. Racing from the beaches of Goa to the streets of Delhi and the jungles of Tamil Nadu, we meet an expat Australian grifter running low-stakes scams and an American woman in search of spiritual succour. Soon, they discover something deeply wrong inside a utopian ashram community. Winner of the Christina Stead Prize for Fiction for his novel The Toymaker, Liam...
Published 05/25/20
In the newest contribution to the Writers on Writers book series, author and The Monthly's Contributing Editor Richard Cooke turns his attention to the seminal Australian travel writer Robyn Davidson. Robyn’s bestselling Tracks recounted her solo walk from Alice Springs to the Indian Ocean in 1977 at the age of 27, and was later adapted into a film. Speaking with the ABC's Michaela Kalowski, Richard reflects on Robyn’s remarkable life, her relationship with place and freedom, and her singular...
Published 05/20/20
The explosive second poetry collection from acclaimed Mununjali Yugambeh writer Ellen van Neerven, Throat, explores love, language and land. The winner of the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards Indigenous Writers’ Prize, Ellen has been described by Maxine Beneba Clarke (The Hate Race) as a young writer who “best represents all that Australian literature was, is, and will surely be, in the decades to come”. Hear Ellen talk with Tessa Rose about their irreverent and powerful anthology, which casts a...
Published 05/18/20
An ingeniously crafted novel by award-winning writer Intan Paramaditha, The Wandering is a choose-your-own-adventure story that explores the highs and lows of global nomadism, the politics and privileges of travel and desire, and the freedoms and limitations of the choices we make. Depending on which pages you turn to, you could become a tourist or an undocumented migrant, a mother or a murderer, as you meet many other travellers with stories to tell. Shirley Le talks with Intan about an...
Published 05/13/20
Below Deck is the breakout novel by Australia’s newest literary sensation, Sophie Hardcastle. A heart-wrenching, poetic story about the vagaries of consent and the question of who has the space to speak, Below Deck charts several years in the life of a young woman who wakes up on a boat with no recollection of how she got there. Georgie Dent meets Sophie to discuss the novel hailed as a “tender, hopeful battle-cry” (Brooke Davis) by “a phenomenal, courageous talent” (Clementine Ford).
Published 05/11/20
Published 05/01/20
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.
Published 05/01/20
When Rebecca Giggs encountered a humpback whale stranded on her local beach, she considered how whales could shed light on the condition of our seas. Fathoms: the world in the whale is her stunning meditation on the lives of these awe-inspiring creatures and her exploration of what they reveal about us. In the spirit of Rebecca Solnit and Rachel Carson, Rebecca – whose work has appeared in Granta and The New York Times – writes vividly about the natural world. In conversation with Angus...
Published 05/01/20
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.
Published 05/01/20
Drawn from years of investigative reporting on domestic abuse, Jess Hill’s 2020 Stella Prize-winning book See What You Made Me Do vividly conjures the scale of our national emergency, evoking a sense of urgency in the reader. Rather than asking questions like, “Why didn’t she leave?”, Jess puts perpetrators – and the criminal justice system enabling them – into the spotlight. Journalist Georgie Dent speaks with Jess about her searing exposé and manifesto for change.
Published 05/01/20