In a modern world that constantly pushes us to do more, how do we find comfort in the simple pleasures of life? Ailsa Piper asks leading Festival guests how they capture moments of joy in their day – whether it’s setting an alarm an hour earlier to start their morning by reading in bed, pursuing a hobby without care for mastery or simply stealing five minutes to savour a coffee. The panel includes host of ABC’s The Drum and author Julia Baird, SBS World News presenter Anton Enus, and beloved British cook and author Anna Jones.

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

Julia Baird (Australian)

Julia Baird

Julia Baird is a globally renowned author, journalist and broadcaster. She hosts The Drum on ABC TV, and writes columns for The New York Times and The Sydney Morning Herald. After her first book, Media Tarts – which was based on her PhD in history about the portrayal of female politicians – was published in 2005, she moved to the United States to take up a fellowship at the Harvard Kennedy School. When she was deputy editor of Newsweek in New York, she began work on a major biography of Queen Victoria, which was published in 2016 to critical acclaim. Her most recent book is Phosphorescence: On awe, wonder and things that sustain you when the world goes dark.

Anton Enus (Australian)

Anton Enus

Anton Enus has been a broadcast journalist for more than 35 years, working initially in his native South Africa during the apartheid era and in the transition to democracy. For the past 20 years he’s been a news presenter for SBS World News. He has also been an ambassador for Bowel Cancer Australia since 2014 and advocates strongly on behalf of the national bowel cancer screening program.

Anna Jones (International)

Anna Jones

Anna Jones is a cook, writer and stylist, the voice of modern vegetarian cooking and the author of the bestselling A Modern Way to Eat, A Modern Way to Cook and The Modern Cook’s Year. Her books are sold in 10 countries and have been translated into five languages. In 2018, The Modern Cook’s Year won the coveted Observer Food Monthly Best Cookbook Award and The Guild of Food Writers Cookbook of the Year. Her previous books have been nominated for the James Beard, Fortnum & Mason and Andre Simon awards. She also writes a weekly, well-loved column for Guardian UK. Anna believes that vegetables should be put at the centre of every table, and is led by the joy of food – the spritz of freshness when you peel an orange or the crackle and waft of deep savoury spice when you add curry leaves to a pan of hot oil. She lives in Hackney, east London with her husband and young son.

Ailsa Piper (Australian)

Ailsa Piper

Ailsa Piper is a writer, performer, director, teacher and moderator, who works across a range of forms. Her play Small Mercies was co-winner of the 2001 Patrick White Playwrights Award, and her adaptation (with Hugh Colman) of The Duchess of Malfi was widely acclaimed. She wrote the travel memoir Spinning Across Spain and co-wrote the epistolary dual memoir The Attachment with Tony Doherty. Most recently, she has contributed to Griffith Review's latest edition, Getting On.