At 48, photographer and writer Bill Hayes moved to New York City, determined to change his life after the death of his partner. A lifelong insomniac, he became captivated by his new world, wandering the streets at night with his camera. He also fell in love with his neighbour, Oliver Sacks. He talks to Stephen Metcalf about Insomniac City: New York, Oliver, and Me, his loving tribute to Sacks and to New York, and his tender insights into living with both.

Supported by Rowena Danziger AM and Ken Coles AM.

Bill Hayes (International)

Bill Hayes

The recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship in nonfiction, Bill Hayes is a frequent contributor to The New York Times and the author of five books: Sleep Demons; Five Quarts; The Anatomist; Insomniac City; and How We Live Now: Scenes from the Pandemic. Hayes is also a photographer, with credits including The New Yorker, Vanity Fair and The New York Times. His portraits of his partner, the late Oliver Sacks, appear in the volume of Dr. Sacks’ suite of final essays, Gratitude. A collection of his street photography, How New York Breaks Your Heart, was recently published. Hayes has lectured at NYU, UCSF and University of Virginia, and has appeared at the Sydney Writers’ Festival, the 92nd Street Y, the Times of India (Mumbai) LitFest and other venues. He serves as a co-editor of Dr. Sacks’ posthumously published work.