In a headline event, two of the biggest names in literature today address the 2020 Sydney Writers’ Festival theme, Almost Midnight. Hear Booker Prize–winning Bernardine Evaristo and Gomeroi poet and author of Blakwork Alison Whittaker each consider our fates – both personal and collective – in a world that feels like it's ending. They’ll look at the role of hope in our eleventh hour, and will question how storytelling charts our fleeting joys and disappointments, our triumphs and tragedies, all while the clock ticks on. 

Ann Patchett is no longer appearing in this event. She is unable to attend the Sydney Writers’ Festival due to travel concerns.

Bernardine Evaristo (International)

Bernardine Evaristo

Bestselling author Bernardine Evaristo won the 2019 Booker Prize with her eighth book, Girl, Woman, Other. It was also one of Barack Obama’s Top 19 Books of 2019. Her other books include Mr Loverman, Blonde Roots and The Emperor’s Babe. Her writing spans short fiction, reviews, essays, drama and writing for radio. As an activist, she has founded several successful arts inclusion projects such as The Complete Works (2007–2017), a mentoring scheme for poets of colour. She has won several awards and honours, including the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire in 2009. Bernardine is Professor of Creative Writing at Brunel University London and Vice Chair of the Royal Society of Literature.

Alison Whittaker (Australian)

Alison Whittaker

Alison Whittaker is a Gomeroi poet, essayist and legal scholar. She is a Research Fellow at the Jumbunna Institute. In 2017–18, 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 was shortlisted for the 2019 Prime Minister's Literary Award. Her most recent book, Fire Front, is an anthology of, and about, First Nations published poetry.