Chloe Hooper and Susan Orlean join Matthew Condon to share their insights into the dark logic of arson, and how they reconciled confusion and culpability in piecing together portraits of maddeningly elusive subjects. Chloe’s The Arsonist investigates the bullied loner who lit two of the Black Saturday fires. Susan’s The Library Book examines the prime suspect of the devastating 1986 Los Angeles Public Library fire, a handsome drifter who yearned for stardom.

Chloe Hooper (Australian)

Chloe Hooper

Chloe Hooper's The Tall Man: Death and Life on Palm Island won the Victorian, New South Wales, West Australian and Queensland Premier’s Literary Awards, as well as the John Button Prize for Political Writing, and a Ned Kelly Award for crime writing. She is also the author of two novels, A Child’s Book of True Crime and The Engagement. The Arsonist is Chloe's latest work of non-fiction.

Susan Orlean (International)

Susan Orlean

Hailed a “national treasure” by The Washington Post, Susan Orlean is the acclaimed, bestselling author of Rin Tin Tin and The Orchid Thief, which was made into the Academy Award-winning film Adaptation. In The Library Book she reopens the unsolved mystery of the most catastrophic library fire in American history, and delivers a dazzling love letter to a beloved institution—our libraries. In a starred review, Booklist called it: “Mesmerizing . . . A riveting mix of true crime, history, biography, and immersion journalism. . . . Probing, prismatic, witty, dramatic, and deeply appreciative, Orlean’s chronicle celebrates libraries as sanctuaries, community centers, and open universities run by people of commitment, compassion, creativity, and resilience.” Orlean has been a staff writer at The New Yorker since 1992.

Matthew Condon (Australian)

Matthew Condon

Matthew Condon has been a journalist for more than 30 years, and for the past decade has been investigating crime and corruption in Queensland and New South Wales. He is the author of the bestselling true crime trilogy Three Crooked Kings, Jacks and Jokers and All Fall Down. His new book The Night Dragon, centres on the fatal Whiskey Au Go Go nightclub firebombing in Brisbane in 1973. Matthew was awarded an Order of Australia Media in 2018 for his services to journalism and the community.