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)

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Tom Keneally won the Booker Prize in 1982 with Schindler's Ark, later made into the Steven Spielberg Academy Award-winning film Schindler's List. His non-fiction includes the memoir Searching For Schindler and Three Famines, an LA Times Book of the Year. His fiction includes Shame and the Captives and The Widow And Her Hero (shortlisted for the Prime Minister's Literary Award). His novels The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith, Gossip from the Forest, and Confederates were all shortlisted for the Booker Prize, while Bring Larks and Heroes and Three Cheers For The Paraclete won the Miles Franklin Award. The People's Train was longlisted for the Miles Franklin Award and shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers Prize, South East Asia division. He is co-author with Meg Keneally of The Soldier’s Curse and The Unmourned, the first two books in The Monsarrat Series.

Kate Evans (Australian)

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Kate Evans presents The Bookshelf on ABC RN with Cassie McCullagh, after years of interviewing writers for RN Books and Arts and Books Plus, as well as working across a whole slew of other RN programs. She regularly appears on stage in conversation with writers and artists. She has a PhD in history, cannot get through a day without reading fiction, and has a wildly idiosyncratic system of shelving and piling up books.