Rudyard Kipling once said of his interview with Mark Twain, “Blessed is the man who finds no disillusion when he is brought face to face with a revered writer.” Beloved broadcaster and author Ramona Koval (A Letter to Layla: Travels to Our Deep Past and Near Future) delivers an enthralling talk about her imaginary friendships with authors no longer with us, from Marguerite Duras to Stefan Zweig. Exploring the disappointment and delight that can arise from getting to know the writers behind our favourite literary classics, Ramona asks whether we should assess a book’s merits independently of its author’s.

Ramona Koval (Australian)

Ramona Koval

Ramona Koval is a writer and journalist. Her recent books include A Letter to Layla: Travels to our deep past and near future (Text, 2020), Bloodhound: Searching for my father (Text, 2015), By the Book: A reader's guide to life (Text, 2012) and Speaking Volumes: Interviews with Remarkable Writers (Scribe, 2010). She is an honorary fellow in the Centre for Advancing Journalism, University of Melbourne. She previously presented a range of ABC programs, notably Books and Writing and later The Book Show.