Award–winning historical fiction novelists Paul Lynch and Chris Womersley speak to Susan Wyndham about how they use magical and supernatural elements to bring the harsh realities of the past to life. Paul’s Grace uses dreams, memory and myth to tell the life-changing odyssey of two young siblings living under the shadow of the Great Famine in Ireland. Chris’s City of Crows is an evocative story of fortune-telling, magic and witchcraft set amid the grimy streets of 17th-century Paris.

Supported by the Consulate General of Ireland, Sydney and Culture Ireland.

Paul Lynch (International)

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Paul Lynch is the prize-winning Irish author of Grace, The Black Snow and Red Sky in Morning. ​He has won the French booksellers’ prize Prix Libr’à Nous for Best Foreign Novel and been a finalist for France’s best foreign book prize, the Prix du Meilleur Livre Étranger. His Irish famine novel Grace was published in 2017 to international acclaim. It was a book of the year in Esquire, Kirkus, The Guardian, Sunday Independent and an Editors’ Choice in the New York Times Book Review. Lynch’s writing has been described by NPR’s Alan Cheuse as “somewhere between that of Nobel poet Seamus Heaney and Cormac McCarthy”.

Chris Womersley (Australian)

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Chris Womersley is the author of novels City of Crows, Cairo, Bereft and The Low Road. The Low Road won the Ned Kelly Award. Bereft won the Indie Award for Best Fiction, the ABIA Award for Fiction and was shortlisted for the Miles Franklin Award, The Gold Dagger Award for International Crime Fiction, The Age Book of The Year and the ALS Gold Medal for Literature. He lives in Melbourne.

Susan Wyndham (Australian)

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Susan Wyndham is a journalist and writer. She is the former literary editor of the Sydney Morning Herald, author of Life in His Hands: the true story of a neurosurgeon and a pianist, and contributing editor of My Mother, My Father: on losing a parent. She is a regular book reviewer, host of literary events and awards judge.