Like for like: Plan your perfect Festival

When faced with a line-up brimming with talented authors, fascinating panels and compelling one-on-ones interviews, sometimes the burden of choice can become almost overwhelming. But don’t worry — we’ve done the legwork and come up with a list that breaks down who you simply must see this year based on the authors you loved at last year’s Festival.

Read on to discover your perfect program…


If you liked George Saunders, don’t miss Jennifer Egan

Why: if you walked away from last year’s Festival feeling inspired by George Saunders, don’t miss Jennifer Egan at this year’s event. Before the genre-defying form of Lincoln in the Bardo, there was A Visit from the Goon Squad, Jennifer’s utterly inventive polyphonic novel of 2011, which earned her a Pulitzer Prize for Literature. Like Bardo, her latest work draws on historical records to compellingly bring to life a slice of American history — this is a chance to see an author at the height of her storytelling powers.  


If you liked Roxane Gay, discover Carmen Maria Machado

Why: if you’re a fan of Roxane Gay’s razor sharp cultural criticism and masterful short stories, meet your new favourite writer: Carmen Maria Machado. Both authors write powerfully on unruly bodies, queer desire, and feminism’s intersections; both possess the ability to — in the space of a few pages — weave singularly original stories that leave a lasting impression. Roxane herself is a fan of Carmen’s work: “The stories in Carmen Maria Machado’s Her Body and Other Parties vibrate with originality, queerness, sensuality and the strange,” she’s said.


If you liked Henry Marsh, make an appointment with James Maskalyk

Why: Henry Marsh’s wisdom, compassion and wit made him one of the standout speakers on last year’s line up — this year, we have fellow physician James Maskalyk to look forward to. James is an emergency-room veteran, an award-winning teacher and member of Médecins Sans Frontières, and a meditation teacher with the Consciousness Explorers Club — all credentials which speak to James’ experience and insight into the human condition.     


If you liked Chris Kraus, add Eileen Myles to your list

Why: if your tastes run to the genre-defying, the canon-exploding, or the unflinchingly feminist, then you probably sought out Chris Kraus at last year’s Festival. This year, your interests will be well-served by Eileen Myles: a queer poet whose most iconic work is an autofiction of 90s New York (Chelsea Girls) and whose most recent book is a dog memoir (Afterglow). Both Chris and Eileen pose provocative questions on gender roles, the politics of identity, and the blurry borders of fiction vs non-fiction; both have links to Jill Soloway, who adapted Chris’ book I Love Dick for Amazon and modelled a character on Eileen in Transparent (they were also partners for a time).    


If you liked Anne Enright, don’t miss Min Jin Lee

Why: each year, the Festival offers the chance to see writers at the peak of their craft, from Fiction Laureates to Pulitzer Prize winners. Anne Enright was last year’s preeminent storyteller, who delighted audiences with her wit, insight and mastery of the novel form. This year, Min Jin Lee promises to deliver on the same, with both authors known for deftly sketching out the intimacies and intricacies of family life across countries and generations.


If you liked Liane Moriarty, also try Jane Harper

Why: both known for their deft, plot-driven thrillers, both cracking storytellers, and both regularly appearing on the bestseller list – if you loved Liane Moriarty’s Big Little Lies or Truly, Madly, Guilty, do yourself a favour and pick up Jane Harper’s Force of Nature. Jane’s sessions offer the chance to hear from an author who relishes in narrative misdirection and can always be counted on to keep you hooked right until the last page. Even better: the film rights to her debut novel The Dry have been sold to Reese Witherspoon and Bruna Papandrea.