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Thursday, May 21 2015 8:30 PM - 10:00 PM Ticketed: $28/$20
Sydney Town Hall, 483 George Street, Sydney
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‘Everything has been figured out, except how to live.’ - Jean-Paul Sartre

In an infinitely customisable world, it’s easy to forget that we all wake up and face the same question: how to live? How much of life should be unthinking, and what is worthy of contemplation? Join happiness expert Paul Dolan, social researcher Hugh Mackay, artist, writer and technology commentator Douglas Coupland, world adventurer Leigh Ann Henion, and critic Anne Manne for a night of big questions, surprising answers and a few precious nuggets of wisdom. In conversation with Ellen Fanning.

Supported by the City of Sydney

Douglas Coupland (International)

Douglas Coupland has published 14 novels since 1991 including the cultural landmark Generation X and is an entrenched figure in the minds of most readers under the age of 50. He works as an artist and designer as well as an author, and has written several non-fiction books including a biography of Marshall McLuhan. Douglas currently lives in Paris where he is artist in residence at Google. He has 454,000 Twitter followers and a seemingly endless fascination with the modern condition.

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Paul Dolan (International)

Paul Dolan, PhD, is an internationally renowned expert on happiness, behaviour and public policy. He is currently Professor of Behavioral Science at the London School of Economics and Political Science and has been a visiting research scholar at Princeton University. He also advises the US National Academy of Sciences on measurement issues in happiness research. Paul lives in Brighton in the UK with his wife and two children. His book Happiness By Design was published in 2014.

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Hugh Mackay (Australian)

Hugh Mackay is a social researcher and the author of sixteen books and six novels. In recognition of his pioneering work in social research, he has been elected a fellow of the Australian Psychological Society and awarded honorary doctorates by several Australian universities. A newspaper columnist for over 25 years, Hugh is currently an honorary professor of social science at the University of Wollongong, an adjunct professor in the faculty of arts at Charles Sturt University, and a patron of the Asylum Seekers’ Centre. In 2015, Hugh was appointed an Officer in the Order of Australia. His latest book is The Art of Belonging.

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Anne Manne (Australian)

Anne Manne has been a regular columnist for The Australian and The Age and has written for The Monthly. Her essay 'Ebony: The Girl in the Room' was included in The Best Australian Essays: A Ten-Year Collection. Her book Motherhood: How Should We Care for Our Children was a Walkley Award finalist in 2006. She has written a Quarterly Essay, 'Love and Money; The Family and the Free Market', and a memoir, So This is Life: Scenes from a Country Childhood. The Life of I: The New Culture of Narcissism, is her latest book.

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Leigh Ann Henion (International)

Leigh Ann Henion is a writer and photographer based in the mountains of North Carolina. Her essays and articles have appeared in The Washington Post Magazine, Smithsonian, Preservation and a variety of other publications. She has won prizes, including a Lowell Thomas Award, and her stories have appeared in three editions of The Best American Travel Writing. In 2013, she was awarded an Artist Fellowship from The North Carolina Arts Council. Her debut book, Phenomenal, is about rekindling her sense of wonder via Earth's most dazzling natural phenomena.

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Ellen Fanning (Australian)

In her 20 years as an award winning public affairs journalist, Ellen Fanning has interviewed every Australian Prime Minister from Sir John Grey Gorton to Tony Abbott. She has reported politics from Canberra to the White House while her broader career has taken her to locations as diverse as the North Pole, an airline refuelling fighter jets over Bosnia and a Collins Class submarine deep in the Indian Ocean. She spent the first ten years of her career at the ABC where she presented both the AM and PM current affairs radio programs. She also served as the ABC’s Washington correspondent. She was later a reporter on the Nine Network’s 60 Minutes and was the last presenter of the Sunday program. In 2013, she presented SBS TV’s long form interview series, The Observer Effect. Now a regular presence on ABC Radio, she spends a ridiculous amount of time organising a local junior soccer competition.



Sponsors and Partners Sydney Writers' Festival 2017