The circumstances of Denny Tran's death were so violent... 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.
Grace Chan (Australian)
Grace Chan is a speculative fiction writer. She has been shortlisted for the Aurealis Awards, Norma K. Hemming Award, and Viva la Novella. Her short fiction can be found in Clarkesworld, Going Down Swinging, Aurealis, and many other places. Her debut novel, Every Version of You, explores change, love, and loss through virtual reality and mind-uploading (Affirm Press, 2022). In her other life, she works as a psychiatrist.
André Dao (Australian)
André Dao is a Melbourne-based writer, editor and artist. His debut novel, Anam, won the 2021 Victorian Premier's Literary Award for an Unpublished Manuscript. His writing has appeared in Meanjin, Sydney Review of Books, Griffith Review, The Monthly, The Lifted Brow, Cordite, The Saturday Paper, New Philosopher, Arena Magazine, Asia Literary Review and elsewhere. Anam will be published in Australia in May 2023 by Penguin Random House Australia, and in August 2023 in the United Kingdom by Picador.
Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai (International)
Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai is a Vietnamese author whose novel, The Mountains Sing, is an international bestseller, runner-up for the Dayton Literary Peace Prize, winner of the BookBrowse Best Debut Award, the PEN Oakland/Josephine Miles Literary Award, and the Lannan Literary Award Fellowship. Author of twelve books in Vietnamese and English, her writing has been translated into twenty languages and has appeared in major publications including The New York Times. Dust Child is her most recent novel.
Benjamin Stevenson (Australian)
Benjamin Stevenson is an award-winning stand-up comedian and author. His first novel, Greenlight, was shortlisted for the Ned Kelly Award for Best Debut Crime Fiction, and his second novel, Either Side of Midnight, was shortlisted for the International Thriller Writers Award for Best Original Paperback. Everyone In My Family Has Killed Someone, his third novel, was a huge bestseller and has so far been sold in 26 territories around the world. It will soon be adapted into a major HBO TV series. It was shortlisted for the Dymocks Book of the Year 2022 and named as one of The Sunday Times’ best crime novels 2022. The sequel, Everyone On This Train Is A Suspect, will be published in 2023. Benjamin has sold out live shows from the Melbourne International Comedy Festival all the way to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and has appeared on ABC TV, Channel 10 and The Comedy Channel.
Pip Williams (Australian)
Pip Williams was born in London, grew up in Sydney, and now lives in the Adelaide Hills. She has spent most of her working life as a social researcher, and she is the author of One Italian Summer, a memoir of her family's travels in search of the good life. Her first novel, The Dictionary of Lost Words, based on her original research in the Oxford English Dictionary archives, was published in 2020 and became an international bestseller. The Bookbinder of Jericho is her second novel.