The evening takes a playful turn as the renowned wit of The Chaser’s Chris Taylor is met with some of the sharpest minds of the Festival. Candid and conversational, highbrow and low, strap yourself in for a lively chat that encompasses everything from pop culture to politics. Relaxed, rollicking and at times risqué, Chris joins guests including My Dad Wrote a Porno’s Jamie Morton; and bestselling author of the Captive Prince trilogy, C.S. Pacat. 

Chris Taylor (Australian)

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Chris Taylor is a writer, broadcaster and performer who's best known as a member of The Chaser. His television credits include The Hamster Wheel, CNNNN and The Chaser’s War on Everything. Chris has also presented radio shows on ABC Local Radio and on Triple J, including the drive program Today Today and the ARIA Award winning comedy series The Blow Parade. He is one of the few Australian comedians who doesn't have a podcast.

Mikhail Zygar (International)

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Mikhail Zygar is a Russian journalist and writer, and the former editor in chief of Dozhd, the only independent TV station in Russia. Under Zygar’s leadership, Dozhd faced unrelenting attacks from the Kremlin, including laws banning advertising on private channels, forced staff cuts, eviction and the removal of the channel from Russia’s cable and satellite TV frequencies, shrinking its audience from 18 million households to 2 million households overnight. Prior to Dozhd, Zygar worked for Newsweek Russia and the business daily Kommersant, where he covered the conflicts in Palestine, Lebanon, Iraq, Serbia, and Kosovo. 

Mikhail is co-author of the book Gazprom: Russia's New Weapon, which explores Russia's recent history through the currency of gas. His latest book, All the Kremlin’s Men, is based on an unprecedented series of interviews with Vladimir Putin’s inner circle, presenting a radically different view of power and politics in Russia. Zygar is the founder of Project1917. Free History, an online project that enables participants to learn about the events of 1917 from those who lived during this defining moment of history.

Henry Marsh (International)

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Henry Marsh is a writer and one of Britain’s foremost neurosurgeons. He is the author of Admissions and Do No Harm: Stories of Life, Death and Brain Surgery, which offers an unforgettable insight into the highs and lows of a life dedicated to operating on the human brain, in all its exquisite complexity. It was a Sunday Times and New York Times bestseller and won the PEN Ackerley Prize, the South Bank Sky Arts Award for Literature and was shortlisted for awards including the Costa Biography Award and Guardian First Book Award.

Marsh became a Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons in 1984 and was then appointed Consultant Neurosurgeon at Atkinson Morley's/St George's Hospital in London, where he worked for thirty years. Since retiring from full-time work, he has continued to operate and lecture in Nepal, Albania and Ukraine. He has been the subject of two award-winning documentary films, Your Life in Their Hands and The English Surgeon. He was made a CBE in 2010.

Holly Throsby (Australian)

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Holly Throsby is a songwriter and novelist. She has released five solo records, a children's album, and an album as part of the band, Seeker Lover Keeper. She's been nominated for four ARIA Awards. Holly's debut novel, Goodwood, was published in 2016. It was #7 on ABC's The Book Club's Top Ten; and #3 on Dymocks' list of the Best Books of 2016. Goodwood was shortlisted for an Indie Book Award for Debut Fiction.