From 9/11 to Hurricane Sandy, we’ve seen New York weather many storms, the city an indestructible icon in our global imagination. But when COVID-19 swept through Manhattan and surrounding boroughs, bustling restaurants, theatres, subways and sidewalks were forever changed.

Renowned writer and photographer Bill Hayes has been hailed by Edmund White as “the great poet of the everyday”. When the world came to a halt, Bill took to the streets of Manhattan to document the lockdown. 

The resulting collection of poetry and images, How We Live Now: Scenes from the Pandemic, is reminiscent of Insomniac City, Bill’s tender ode to New York and his partner, the late Oliver Sacks. It celebrates the shared humanity that emerged during a time of unanticipated catastrophe. 

Bill appears live via video to share his photographs and anecdotes during a special immersive event with Anton Enus.

Thanks to Rowena Danziger AM and Ken Coles AM.


Bill Hayes (International)

Bill Hayes

The recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship in nonfiction, Bill Hayes is a frequent contributor to The New York Times and the author of five books: Sleep Demons; Five Quarts; The Anatomist; Insomniac City; and How We Live Now: Scenes from the Pandemic. Hayes is also a photographer, with credits including The New Yorker, Vanity Fair and The New York Times. His portraits of his partner, the late Oliver Sacks, appear in the volume of Dr. Sacks’ suite of final essays, Gratitude. A collection of his street photography, How New York Breaks Your Heart, was recently published. Hayes has lectured at NYU, UCSF and University of Virginia, and has appeared at the Sydney Writers’ Festival, the 92nd Street Y, the Times of India (Mumbai) LitFest and other venues. He serves as a co-editor of Dr. Sacks’ posthumously published work.

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.