Some of the Festival’s most celebrated guests reveal the books that made them want to become writers. Literary luminaries will discuss intimate and varied influences, offering insights into what shaped them as writers and informed some of today’s important literary works. The international line-up features Booker Prize-winner Tom Keneally, acclaimed writer and essayist Robert Dessaix (The Pleasures of Leisure), Ian Rankin (bestselling crime writer of the Inspector Rebus novels) and Pulitzer Prize finalist Joy Williams (Ninety-Nine Stories of God). Hosted by ABC RN’s Kate Evans.

This event will be Closed Captioned. The National Relay Service is available to assist with phone bookings. Call SWF Box Office on (02) 9256 4200 or email ticketing@swf.org.au to book access tickets.

Please note: due to unforeseen circumstances, Hisham Matar and Hannah Kent will no longer be appearing at this event. 

Thomas Keneally (Australian)

Thomas Keneally

Thomas Keneally was born in 1935 and his first novel was published in 1964. Since then he has written a considerable number of novels and non-fiction works. His novels include The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith, Schindler's List and The People's Train. He has won the Miles Franklin Award, the Booker Prize, the Los Angeles Times Prize, the Mondello International Prize and has been made a Literary Lion of the New York Public Library, a Fellow of the American Academy, recipient of the University of California gold medal, and is now the subject of a 55 cent Australian stamp.

Robert Dessaix (Australian)

Robert Dessaix

Robert Dessaix is a writer of fiction, autobiography and the occasional essay. From 1985 to 1995, after teaching Russian language and literature for many years at the Australian National University and the University of New South Wales, he presented the weekly Books and Writing program on ABC Radio National. In more recent years he has also presented radio series on Australian public intellectuals and great travellers in history, as well as regular programs on language.

His best-known books, all translated into several European languages, are his autobiography A Mother's Disgrace; the novels Night Letters and Corfu; a collection of essays and short stories (and so forth); and the travel memoirs Twilight of Love and Arabesques. In 2012 he published the collection of originally spoken pieces As I Was Saying,and in 2014 the meditation What Days Are For. A full-time writer since 1995, Robert Dessaix lives in Hobart, Tasmania.

Kate Evans (Australian)

Kate Evans

Kate Evans presents The Bookshelf on ABC Radio National (with co-host Cassie McCullagh). She has a PhD in history, too many books, and a tendency to over use post-it notes for fear of forgetting a beautifully-turned phrase.