Regarded as one the great Sri Lankan novelists, Shehan Karunatilaka won the 2022 Booker Prize for his epic, searing and darkly funny satire The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida. Narrated by the ghost of a gay atheist photojournalist, it follows a week in the afterlife in which he reckons with his sexual escapades, a gambling habit, and the state-sponsored death squads he sought to expose. Shehan speaks with Michael Williams about a novel that breaks with conventional modes of storytelling to illuminate the humanity and horrors of wartime Sri Lanka.

Supported by ARA.

This event is open captioned.

Shehan Karunatilaka (International)

Shehan Karunatilaka

Shehan Karunatilaka is the winner of the 2022 Booker Prize for his second novel The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida. He is also the author of the award-winning Chinaman: The Legend of Pradeep Mathew, which was selected for the UK's 2022 Big Jubilee Read selection. Born in Sri Lanka, he studied in New Zealand and has lived and worked in London, Amsterdam and Singapore. He lives in Colombo with his family, his guitars and his unfinished stories.

Michael Williams (Australian)

Michael Williams

Michael Williams is the editor of The Monthly. He was previously the Artistic Director of Sydney Writers’ Festival which he joined in September 2020, navigating the post-pandemic landscape going into the 2021 festival. He has spent the past decade at the Wheeler Centre for Books, Writing and Ideas in Melbourne; as its founding Head of Programming in 2009, and then as its Director from September 2011. A regular host and interviewer for literary and ideas events around Australia – including a long-standing association with Sydney Writers’ Festival – his background is in publishing and broadcasting. He has hosted two shows on ABC Radio National – Blueprint for Living (2015-2016) and Talkfest (2017-2018) – was a regular on ABC TV’s The Book Club, and remains a regular guest on ABC radio and TV. Michael has also worked as a Breakfast presenter for Melbourne’s 3RRR, as a member of the Australia Council’s Literature Board, in publishing in Australia and New York, and has written extensively for The Guardian, The Age, Sydney Morning Herald and elsewhere. He is currently also host of Guardian Australia’s monthly book club.