Sliding doors, transformative moments: whatever you call them… Pregnant with the thrill of storytelling, full of surprises, calm, jarring, momentous or direct, the first lines of a writer’s work take us to exactly where they want us to be. Whether this is at the beginning, the middle or the end of a story, a life, or an argument we are in their hands, and now have to trust them to take us on the journey. Come and meet our festival guests as they unfold their beginnings - five minutes of the stories, books, poetry and more that they are sharing at the Festival.
Supported by UNSW Sydney.
Eleanor Catton (International)
Eleanor Catton is the author of The Luminaries (Granta, 2013), winner of the Man Booker Prize and the Governor General's Literary Award and an international bestseller. Her debut novel, The Rehearsal (Granta, 2009), won the Betty Trask Prize, was shortlisted for the Guardian First Book Award and the Dylan Thomas Prize, and longlisted for the Orange Prize. As a screenwriter, she adapted The Luminaries for television, and Jane Austen's Emma for feature film. Born in 1985 in Canada and raised in New Zealand, she now lives in Cambridge, England. Her most recent book Birnam Wood is out now.
Benjamin Gilmour (Australian)
Benjamin Gilmour is a writer and filmmaker, director of the films Jirga (2019), Paramedico (2012) and Son of a Lion (2008). He is the author of the books Warrior Poets (Pier 9), Paramedico (HarperCollins) and The Gap (Penguin Random House). He has travelled extensively in Afghanistan where he filmed his latest feature film Jirga, Australia's entry to the 91st Academy Awards. He lives in Northern NSW, Australia.
Raina MacIntyre (Australian)
Professor Raina MacIntyre is a dual-specialist physician with a masters and PhD in epidemiology, training in outbreak investigation and over 450 scientific publications. She is a leader in pandemics, bioterrorism, vaccines and facemasks, on expert committees for the WHO and other bodies. She won many awards including the Sir Henry Wellcome Medal and Prize from the Association of Military Surgeons of the United States and the Eureka Prize for Leadership in Science and Innovation.
Andrew Quilty (Australian)
Andrew Quilty is the recipient of nine Walkley Awards, including the Gold Walkley, for his work on Afghanistan, where he was based between 2013 and 2022. He has also received the George Polk Award, the World Press Photo Award and the Overseas Press Club of America award for his investigation into massacres committed by a CIA-backed Afghan militia. August in Kabul is his first book.