Explore the 2024 Program

Books for Armchair Travel

Accompany your listening to The Art of Armchair Travel with this wide and varied range of books. Recommended by our panel of renowned literary travellers, each story promises to whisk you away to strange and beautiful places, both real and imagined, from Tasmania to Prague, London to New Orleans.

Recommendations from Heather Rose

Heather Rose is the award-winning author of eight novels, including the bestselling political thriller Bruny and The Museum of Modern Love, which won the 2017 Stella Prize. Heather lives by the sea in Tasmania.

  • Haruki Murakami, Killing Commendatore
  • Virginia Woolf, Orlando, Mrs Dalloway
  • Kate Atkinson, Life after Life – “One of my favourite novels” 
  • Samantha Shannon, The Bone Season series – a “steam-punk London”
  • Patrick Rothfuss, works
  • J R R Tolkein, The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings
  • Ursula K Le Guin, works
  • C S Lewis, Narnia series
  • Stephen R Donaldson, The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant
  • Lenny Bartulin, works – “He gives you a real sense of history aligning…” 
  • Rachael Leary, Bridget Crack 
  • Bernardine Evaristo, Girl Woman Other – “Such a beautiful book, a book of character”

Recommendations from Maxine Beneba Clarke

Maxine Beneba Clarke is the author of over ten books for children and adults, including her newly released picture book When We Say Black Lives Matter and the ABIA award-winning short fiction collection Foreign Soil. In 2019, she was the inaugural Poet Laureate for The Saturday Paper.

  • Cath Moore, Metal Fish, Falling Snow 
  • Veronica Gorrie, Black and Blue
  • Mirandi Riwoe, Stone Sky Gold Mountain – “Finally books are starting to be published that are the books that I wish that I had,” said Maxine on Stone Sky Gold Mountain, “It’s kind of like this new dawning of Australian literature.”
  • Claire G Coleman, works
  • Octavia Butler, Kindred – “It’s this comment on human emotion and the way that we get dehumanised. And of course, that book, every time I read it, it gets more and more relevant, as with a lot of science fiction.”   
  • Nalo Hopkinson, works
  • Christos Tsiolkas, works
  • Luke Davies, works
  • Peter Polites, Down the Hume

Recommendations from Richard Fidler 

Richard Fidler’s latest book, The Golden Maze, is a biography of Prague, inspired by his experience of the city’s 1989 Velvet Revolution. He is also the author of Ghost Empire and co-author of Saga Land, a journey into the sagas of Iceland. 

  • Alasdair Gray, Lanark: A Life in Four Books
  • Mikhail Bulgakov, The Master and Margarita – “[It’s a] riotous, bizarre journey through Moscow...ultimately, it’s a book about love really.”  
  • J K Rowling, Harry Potter series 
  • Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking Glass 
  • Franz Kafka, The Trial, Metamorphosis
  • Ivan Klima, works
  • Josef Skvorecky, The Miracle Game
  • Vaclav Havel, plays – “Prague is the landscape of all those folk tales,” said Richard. And when you revisit them, it’s like “remembering a lost self”
  • Karel Capek, RUR (Rossum’s Universal Robots) 
  • Andrew McGahan, Praise – “I like the way that fiction can introduce you to the city, the previous iteration of it. The previous layer of onion skin that was there before and lies beneath and bits of it that are still there today”  
  • John Le Carre, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy – superior to its film adaptation, according to Richard, in the book, “Everything is just slightly unsatisfactory...there’s this sense of Britain having shrunk, this sense of loss of empire…this sense of everything not quite working that makes London at the time seem slightly hellish...” 

Recommendations from Tegan Bennett Daylight

Tegan Bennett Daylight is the author of three novels: BomboraWhat Falls Away and Safety. Her collection of short stories, Six Bedrooms, was shortlisted for the 2016 Stella Prize. She lives in the Blue Mountains. 

  • Gerald Durrell, My Family and Other Animals – Tegan’s favourite book, “You get that lovely close look at the landscape as well as a broad look at the place as a whole” 
  • Helen Garner, Monkey Grip – “The first Australian book that made me feel like I was at home…” 
  • Alexis Wright, Tracker
  • Joan Aiken, The Wolves of Willoughby Chase / James lll series
  • Kazuo Ishiguro, works – “He carries a kind of formal and careful and restrained world inside his head which he transfers from place to place...I think he always carries Japan in his head wherever he pitches his tent to write” 
  • Ruth Park, Poor Man's Orange, The Harp in the South – “You can feel the city...she talks about sand in the streets of Surry Hills”  
  • Ruth Park & D'Arcy Niland, The Drums Go Bang – “A really evocative moment of what a powerful, natural place Sydney is...”
  • Ellen van Neerven, works
  • George Haddad, works 
  • Queering the Map – “an energising and beautiful and inclusive and gorgeous thing”