In books such as Joe Cinque’s Consolation and The Children’s Bach Helen Garner has built a reputation as one of Australia’s most adept and admired authors. Now, Bernadette Brennan has delved into Garner’s 40-year career with A Writing Life, surveying the events that influenced her artful prose. This panel assembles an all-star cast of Garner admirers – The Book Club presenter Jennifer Byrne, political commentator Annabel Crabb (The Wife Drought), columnist Benjamin Law (The Family Law), alongside Bernadette and moderator Rebecca Giggs.

This event will be Closed Captioned. The National Relay Service is available to assist with phone bookings. Call Roslyn Packer Theatre Box Office on (02) 9250 1988 or email boxoffice@sydneytheatre.com.au to book access tickets.

Bernadette Brennan (Australian)

Bernadette Brennan

Bernadette Brennan is a critic and researcher of contemporary Australian writing. Her most recent work, A Writing Life: Helen Garner and Her Work, offers a fascinating literary portrait of one of Australia’s best-loved authors. Bernadette's literary criticism has been published widely in Australia and abroad. She is the recipient of the Copyright Agency's inaugural Fellowship for Non-Fiction and is currently writing a biography of Gillian Mears. Bernadette is also one of five judges for the Miles Franklin Award.

Jennifer Byrne (Australian )

Jennifer Byrne

Jennifer Byrne is a senior journalist and broadcaster who has worked in all arms of the media: print, radio and television. Having done her cadetship at The Age and worked on UK’s Fleet Street, she was a founding reporter with Channel Nine’s Sunday programme and spent some 12 years travelling the world for 60 Minutes and as anchor for Foreign Correspondent. She was publishing director of Reed Books, morning presenter on ABC radio, won national awards as interviewer and columnist for The Bulletin and, in May 2006, returned to TV to create the country’s first televised Book Club, which ran on the ABC for 11 years until last December. 

Annabel Crabb (Australian)

Annabel Crabb

Annabel Crabb is a writer and presenter for the ABC. She's also a keen amateur podcaster and co-hosts the inexplicably popular Chat 10, Looks 3 podcast with her colleague Leigh Sales, who lends credibility to the exercise. Annabel has worked extensively in newspapers, radio and TV as a political journalist and won a Walkley Award for Stop At Nothing: The Life And Adventures of Malcolm Turnbull. She published a bestselling book about gender and work, The Wife Drought, in 2014 and has published two cookbooks with childhood friend Wendy Sharpe, the latest of which is Special Guest. Her most recent Quarterly Essay is Men at Work.

Benjamin Law (Australian)

Benjamin Law

Benjamin Law is a journalist, columnist, TV screenwriter and author of The Family Law, Gaysia: Adventures in the Queer East and Quarterly Essay 67: Moral Panic 101. The Family Law is also an award-winning TV series for SBS which Benjamin created and co-wrote over three seasons. His debut stageplay Torch the Place premiered at Melbourne Theatre Company earlier this year.

Rebecca Giggs (Australian)

Rebecca Giggs

Rebecca Giggs is a writer from Perth, Australia. Her work has appeared in Granta, The Atlantic, The New York Times Magazine, Best Australian Essays, Best Australian Science Writing and other publications. Her first book is Fathoms: the world in the whale.