Two of the most discussed novels of the Festival – Gabriel Tallent’s My Absolute Darling and Ceridwen Dovey’s In the Garden of the Fugitives – are very different stories with a common thread: the central male characters wield manipulative power over women. Their authors take to the stage with Amelia Lester to reveal their approaches to putting toxic masculinity to the page. Gabriel’s novel portrays an abused daughter’s fight to save herself while Ceridwen’s explores obsession, guilt and power.

Ceridwen Dovey (Australian)

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Ceridwen Dovey’s debut novel, Blood Kin, was published around the world, shortlisted for the Dylan Thomas Award, and selected for the U.S. National Book Foundation’s prestigious ‘5 Under 35’ honours list. The Wall Street Journal named her as one of their ‘artists to watch.’ Her collection of stories, Only the Animals, was described by The Guardian as a ‘dazzling, imagined history of humans’ relationship with animals’ and won the 2014 Readings New Australian Writing Award. Her latest novel, In the Garden of the Fugitives, was published in Australia in February 2018 and will be published in the U.S., U.K. and France later in 2018. Ceridwen also writes non-fiction for The Monthly and The New Yorker.

Gabriel Tallent (International)

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Gabriel Tallent was born in New Mexico and raised on the Mendocino coast by two mothers. He received his BA from Willamette University in 2010, and after graduation spent two seasons leading youth trail crews in the back country of the Pacific Northwest. His debut novel, My Absolute Darling, was one of the 2017 BookExpo Book Editor’s Buzz Books, which name the six authors and titles that are expected to be the biggest books of the year. The Guardian called My Absolute Darling "the year’s most talked about novel". Tallent lives in Salt Lake City.

Amelia Lester (Australian)

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Amelia Lester is a writer and editor based in Japan. Previously she was editor of Good Weekend, and spent ten years before that as an editor at The New Yorker.