Benjamin Law welcomes some of the Festival’s most celebrated guests in a not-to-be-missed discussion about queer literary heroes. From The Price of Salt, to Harry Potter, to Winnie the Pooh, Patrick Abboud, Ivan Coyote, Anton Enus, Michael Farrell, Melissa Hardie, C.S. Pacat and Alison Whittaker talk about the texts that influenced them – both the overtly gay and the implicitly queer. They share which books they looked to for guidance and the characters they identified with, or those whose mere existence provided comfort – when they were first identifying as queer. Guests will come equipped with endorsements, recommendations and surprises.

Supported by the University of Sydney.

Please note: due to unforeseen circumstances, Eamon Flack will no longer be appearing at this event. 

Michael Farrell (Australian)

Michael Farrell's recent books of poetry are Cocky's Joy and open sesame. Cocky's Joy was short-listed for the Prime Minister's Prize in 2016. He has also written a scholarly book, Writing Australian Unsettlement: Modes of Poetic Invention 1796-1945. He publishes the poetry magazine Flash Cove and is working on the first Flash Cove book publication, a tribute to John Ashbery.

Alison Whittaker (Australian)

Alison Whittaker is a Gomeroi poet and researcher, and winner of the 2016 Judith Wright Poetry Prize. She has words in major literary journals and online platforms. Her debut collection, Lemons in the Chicken Wire received the State Library of Queensland's 2015 black&write! Fellowship and was shortlisted for the 2016 Scanlon Prize.

C.S. Pacat (Australian)

C.S. Pacat is the author of the best-selling Captive Prince trilogy. Her first series began its life as an original-fiction web serial, which attracted viral attention before being acquired by Penguin USA. The Captive Prince trilogy went on to become a USA Today bestseller after being published to commercial success and critical acclaim.

Melissa Hardie (Australian)

Melissa Hardie is a senior lecturer in the Department of English at the University of Sydney. She is currently finishing a book on the closet and queer theory, with chapters on celebrity memoir, Lindsay Lohan, noir television, soap opera, and fan culture, and new queer cinema.

Ivan Coyote (International)

Ivan Coyote is the award-winning author of eleven books, the creator of four short films, and has released three albums that combine storytelling with music. Ivan is a seasoned stage performer and long-time road dog, and over the last two decades has become an audience favourite at storytelling, writers, film, poetry, and folk music festivals from Anchorage to Amsterdam to Australia.

Ivan often grapples with the complex and intensely personal issues of gender identity in their work, as well as topics such as family, class, social justice and queer liberation, but always with a generous heart, a quick wit, and the nuanced and finely-honed timing of a gifted raconteur. Ivan’s eleventh book is Tomboy Survival Guide and recently was awarded a Stonewall Honor Book Award by the American Library Association, and was long-listed for the BC National Award for Canadian Non-Fiction.

Anton Enus (Australian)

Anton Enus is a broadcast journalist with more than 25 years’ experience, and has been presenting SBS World News bulletins since 1999. He began his career at the South African national broadcaster SABC as a radio news reporter. He moved on to become a parliamentary reporter, current affairs producer, TV news reporter and TV presenter, often anchoring the morning news show Good Morning South Africa.

Anton was part of the team that covered South Africa’s historic return to democracy in 1994 and also filed stories from Rwanda, Burundi, Zaire, Uganda, Mozambique and Zimbabwe. He spent seven years as a correspondent for CNN World Report, a global news program, where he won Best International Report for his story marking the 25th anniversary of Chris Barnard's pioneering heart transplant. He also won the SABC Bokmakierie Award for radio current affairs. Before leaving South Africa, Anton presented the major evening national news bulletin. After travelling overland through south-eastern Africa and backpacking across India, Anton arrived in Sydney. In addition to reading the 6.30pm SBS World News bulletin, Anton hosts special SBS news events such as federal election specials, and has hosted the Walkley Awards for Excellence in Journalism several times.

Patrick Abboud (Australian)

The son of Palestinian/Lebanese parents, Patrick Abboud is an award-winning storyteller, documentary filmmaker and broadcaster. Currently a senior investigative reporter and presenter on SBS VICELAND’s The Feed, Pat was named as a nominee for the International LGBTQI Journalist of the Year Award for his commitment to reporting the discrimination faced by LGBTQI communities around the world, particularly in the many countries where homosexuality is punishable by imprisonment or death. Pat is also co-host, writer and director of the SBS Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras broadcast. He was the recipient of the 2016 LGBTQI Honour Award for outstanding journalism and broadcasting, and is a three-time Walkley Award nominee.

Benjamin Law (Australian)

Benjamin Law is a journalist, columnist, TV screenwriter and author of two books – The Family Law (2010) and Gaysia: Adventures in the Queer East (2012). Both were nominated for Australian Book Industry Awards. The Family Law is now an AACTA-nominated TV series for SBS.