With its remarkable natural layout and rich, layered history, Sydney has long made a vivid backdrop for writers. Authors Vanessa Berry, Scott Bevan and Luke Slattery appear in conversation with theatre maker Tom Wright to discuss how they approach writing about the city – from the harbour to the ’burbs, from momentous events to secret histories. Vanessa’s Mirror Sydney maps an alternative view of the city, Scott’s The Harbour examines Sydney Harbour’s past and present, and Luke’s Mrs. M is a historical novel about Elizabeth Macquarie, widow of the disgraced former NSW governor Lachlan Macquarie.

Vanessa Berry (Australian)

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Vanessa Berry is a writer and artist who works with history, memory and archives. She is the author of Mirror Sydney, which investigates the city's marginal places, undercurrents, and the changing urban landscape. She is the author of two memoirs, Ninety9 and Strawberry Hills Forever. Her visual arts work has been exhibited at galleries such as the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia and the National Gallery of Australia.

Luke Slattery (Australian)

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Luke Slattery is an author, journalist and literary critic based in Sydney. His journalism and writing have been published in metropolitan media throughout Australia and internationally in the International Herald Tribune, the Los Angeles Times, London's The Spectator, The New Yorker and the US Chronicle of Higher Education. He has served as Higher Education Editor at The Australian, The Age and The Australian Financial Review, and has been the recipient of the Higher Education Journalist of the Year Award, the European Union Journalist Award and the Australian Council's Keesing Writing Fellowship in Paris. He was shortlisted for the 1995 Graham Perkin Journalist of the Year Award. Mrs. M is Luke's fifth book and his first novel.

Scott Bevan (Australian)

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Scott Bevan has combined his love of writing and kayaking for his latest book, The Harbour. Scott spent the best part of a year paddling around Sydney Harbour, getting to know the icon and talking with those who live beside it, and work and play on it. Scott is the author of four other books and has made documentaries.

Tom Wright (Australian)

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Tom Wright is a highly respected theatre writer, best known for his adaptions and translations. He was Associate Director at Sydney Theatre Company from 2007-12 and is currently an Associate Artist at Belvoir. His most recent work is an adaption of Picnic at Hanging Rock which premiered at the Malthouse Theatre in Melbourne and toured to the Lyceum Theatre in Edinburgh. His previous credits include Black Diggers for Sydney Festival, for which he won the NSW Premier’s Literary Award, The Histrionic for Malthouse Theatre and Sydney Theatre Company, and War of the Roses and The Lost Echo for Sydney Theatre Company, both of which won the Helpmann Award for Best Play.