I want to tell you about a different kind of world... 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.

Helen Garner (Australian)

Helen Garner

Helen Garner writes novels, stories, screenplays and works of non-fiction. In 2006 she received the inaugural Melbourne Prize for Literature, and in 2016 she won the prestigious Windham-Campbell Literature Prize for non-fiction and the Western Australian Premier's Book Award. In 2019 she was honoured with the Australia Council Award for Lifetime Achievement in Literature. Her books include Monkey Grip, The Children's Bach, Cosmo Cosmolino, The Spare Room, The First Stone, This House of Grief, Everywhere I Look and Yellow Notebook. Her most recent book is How to End a Story.

Sarah Krasnostein (Australian)

Sarah Krasnostein

Sarah Krasnostein is the multi-award winning author of The Trauma Cleaner, The Believer and the Quarterly Essay, Not Waving, Drowning. She holds a PhD in criminal law and is admitted to legal practice in New York and Victoria. A regular contributor to The Monthly and The Saturday Paper, she was awarded the 2022 Walkley Pascall Prize for Arts Criticism. Her latest work, On Peter Carey, will be out with Black Inc Books in June 2023.

Jennifer Robinson (Australian)

Jennifer Robinson

Jennifer Robinson is an Australian human rights, media lawyer and feminist, who is internationally recognised for her work. She represented Amber Heard in relation to Johnny Depp's 2020 defamation case in the UK and has defended Julian Assange and advised WikiLeaks since 2010. She is a practicing barrister at Doughty Street Chambers in London and has acted in key human rights, freedom of speech and information cases before the British courts, international and regional courts and UN special mechanisms. 

Don Watson (Australian)

Don Watson

Don Watson's many books include the award-winning Recollections of a Bleeding Heart, Death Sentence, American Journeys and The Bush. He is also the author of essays, screenplays and speeches, and he is a regular contributor to The Monthly. Many of his shorter works are collected in Watsonia (2021). His latest book is The Passion of Private White.