A hot new novel can keep you turning the pages late into the night, but a different – and some may argue, greater – pleasure comes from the act of re-reading. Whether it’s returning to a classic and seeing its humour in a fresh light, or expecting to be swept off your feet by a romance only to find you’re now transfixed by the class politics, there’s a singular joy in coming back to well-thumbed favourites. ABC Radio National’s The Bookshelf co-host Kate Evans chats with authors Bernadette Brennan (Leaping into Waterfalls), Yumna Kassab (Australiana) and Ruth Wilson (The Jane Austen Remedy) about the books they return to time and time again and the lessons they offer.

Ruth Wilson (Australian)

Ruth Wilson

Ruth Wilson was awarded a PhD in 2021 at the age of 88, drawing on her lifetime of reading Jane Austen's novels to develop a new kind of reading pedagogy for learning how to read fiction in secondary school. In her reading memoir, The Jane Austen Remedy, she recalls the ways in which Austen's novels have delighted and guided her through life's challenges.

Bernadette Brennan (Australian)

Bernadette Brennan

Bernadette Brennan is a critic and researcher of contemporary Australian writing and one of five judges for the Miles Franklin Award. Her literary criticism has been published widely in Australia and abroad. Bernadette's publications include Brian Castro: The Seductive Play of Language and A Writing Life: Helen Garner and her Work. Her most recent book is Leaping Into Waterfalls: The Enigmatic Gillian Mears.

Yumna Kassab (Australian)

Yumna Kassab

Yumna Kassab is a writer from Western Sydney. She studied medical science and neuroscience at university. Her first book, The House of Youssef, has been listed for prizes including the Victorian Premier's Literary Award, Queensland Literary Award, NSW Premier's Literary Awards and The Stella Prize. Her second book Australiana was published in April.

Kate Evans (Australian)

Kate Evans

Kate Evans presents The Bookshelf on ABC Radio National (with co-host Cassie McCullagh). She has a PhD in history, too many books, and a tendency to over use post-it notes for fear of forgetting a beautifully-turned phrase.