Origin Story brings some of Australia’s most acclaimed and beloved authors together to discuss the books that made them want to be writers. Drawing on diverse and sometimes surprising influences, they reflect on the cherished volumes that made storytelling seem possible, the masterworks that sharpened their ambitions, and the literary luminaries who lighted their paths. Featuring Peggy Frew (Islands), Toni Jordan (The Fragments), Meg Keneally (Fled) and Alison Whittaker (Blakwork), with Lex Hirst.

Supported by the Copyright Agency’s Cultural Fund.

Alison Whittaker (Australian)

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Alison Whittaker is a Gomeroi poet, essayist and legal scholar. She is a Research Fellow at the Jumbunna Institute. In 2017-2018 Alison was a Fulbright scholar at Harvard Law School where she was named Dean’s Scholar in Race, Gender and Criminal Law. Her second book Blakwork is a collection of poetry, essays and short stories.

Peggy Frew (Australian)

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Peggy Frew’s work has appeared in New Australian Stories, Kill Your Darlings, Meanjin, and The Big Issue. Islands is her third novel. Her first book, House of Sticks, won the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for an Unpublished Manuscript and was shortlisted for the Glenda Adams Prize for New Writing. Hope Farm, her second novel, won the Barbara Jefferis Award, was shortlisted for the Stella Prize and the Miles Franklin Literary Award, and was longlisted for the International Dublin Literary Award.

Meg Keneally (Australian)

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Meg Keneally’s first solo novel Fled tells the tale of one of history’s most daring escapes and is based a true story. She is currently working on her second solo novel The Wreck. Meg is co-author with her father Tom Keneally of the Monsarrat Series of historical crime novels. The fourth in the series is The Ink Stain.

Toni Jordan (Australian)

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Toni Jordan is the author of five novels. The international best-seller Addition was longlisted for the Miles Franklin award. Fall Girl was published internationally and Nine Days was awarded Best Fiction at the 2012 Indie Awards and was named in Kirkus Review’s top 10 Historical Novels of 2013. Our Tiny, Useless Hearts was longlisted for the International Dublin Literary Award. Toni teaches creative writing at Faber Academy. Her most recent novel is The Fragments.

Lex Hirst (Australian)

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Lex Hirst is the Publisher at social purpose publishing house Pantera Press. A former director of the National Young Writers' Festival and the Junkee Junket Unconference, she's always on the lookout for exciting new voices, great storytelling and books that spark conversation, imagination and change.