Writers' Week 2024

February 2024

Adelaide hosts Australia’s largest literary festival and we are again offering streaming at several sites across the City of Unley. Goodwood Library, Clarence Park Community Centre, Unley Community Centre and Fullarton Park Community Centre all have streaming sessions available.

Download a copy of the streaming schedule(PDF, 2MB)

We will be adding links to our catalogue pointing to the authors featured on the East Stage that is streaming to our facilities. While many of these authors go through some heightened demand, you can place a hold to ensure you get a copy of their book/s as soon as possible.

You can find the Writers Week entire program on the Writers Week website. We have copies of the streaming schedule - if you can't find one in the Libraries, please ask at the desk.


 

The live-streaming sessions and their authors

Click on the author names to connect with our catalogue and explore their books.

The power of love

The Wren, The Wren by Anne Enright  

Anne Enright

The wren, the wren

Carmel's daughter Nell -- funny, brave and so much loved -- is a young woman with adventure on her mind. As she sets out into the world, she finds her family history hard to escape. For her mother, Carmel, Nell's leaving home opens a space in her heart, where the turmoil of a lifetime begins to churn. And across the generations falls the long shadow of Carmel's famous father, an Irish poet of beautiful words and brutal actions. This is a meditation on love: spiritual, romantic, darkly sexual or genetic. A generational saga that traces the inheritance not just of trauma but also of wonder, it is a testament to the glorious resilience of women in the face of promises false and true. Above all, it is an exploration of the love between mother and daughter -- sometimes fierce, often painful, but always transcendent.

Held by Anne Michaels  

Anne Michaels

Held

1917. On a battlefield near the River Aisne, John lies in the aftermath of a blast, unable to move or feel his legs. Struggling to focus his thoughts, he is lost to memory as the snow falls -- a chance encounter in a pub by a railway, a hot bath with his lover on a winter night. 1920. John has returned from war to North Yorkshire, near a different river. He is alive but still not whole. Reunited with Helena, an artist, he reopens his photography business and tries to keep on living. But the past erupts insistently into the present, as ghosts begin to surface in his pictures: ghosts with messages he cannot understand. So begins a narrative that spans four generations of connections and consequences that ignite and re-ignite as the century unfolds. In luminous moments of desire, comprehension, longing, and transcendence, the sparks fly upward, working their transformations decades later.

 

Sex, love and death

Penance by Eliza Clark  

Eliza Clark

Penance

From the author of the cult hit Boy Parts comes a chilling, brilliantly told story of murder among a group of teenage girls. On a beach in a run-down seaside town on the Yorkshire coastline, sixteen-year-old Joan Wilson is set on fire by three other schoolgirls. Nearly a decade after the horrifying murder, journalist Alec Z. Carelli has written the definitive account of the crime, drawn from hours of interviews with witnesses and family members, painstaking historical research, and most notably, correspondence with the killers themselves. The result is a riveting snapshot of lives rocked by tragedy, and a town left in turmoil. But how much of the story is true? Compulsively readable, provocative, and disturbing, Penance is a cleverly nuanced, unflinching exploration of gender, class, and power that raises troubling questions about the media and our obsession with true crime while bringing to light the depraved side of human nature and our darkest proclivities.

The Librarianist by Patrick deWitt  

Patrick deWitt

The librarianist

Bob Comet is a retired librarian, isolated but not lonely, living out his quiet days in a mint-coloured house in Oregon, surrounded by his books and small comforts. One morning, out on his daily walk, he performs an act of kindness that brings him into contact with a nearby senior centre, where he soon begins volunteering. Here, as a community of peers and friends gathers around Bob, and following a happenstance brush with a painful complication from his past, the events of his life and the details of his character are revealed. Behind Bob Comet's plain facade is the story of an unhappy child's runaway adventure, of true love found and stolen away, of the purpose and pride found in vocation, and the ultimate acceptance of a life lived to the side of the masses. The Librarianist is a wide-ranging and ambitious homage to the life lived through and for literature. With his inimitable verve, skewed humour, and compassion for the outcast, deWitt celebrates the extraordinary in the so-called ordinary life, and depicts beautifully the turbulence that sometimes exists beneath a surface of serenity.

Brooklyn Crime Novel by Jonathan Lethem  

Jonathan Lethem

Brooklyn crime novel

On the streets of 1970s Brooklyn, a daily ritual goes down: the dance. Money is exchanged, belongings surrendered, power asserted. The promise of violence lies everywhere, a currency itself. For these children, Black, brown, and white, the street is a stage in shadow. And in the wings hide the other players: parents; cops; renovators; landlords; those who write the headlines, the histories, and the laws; those who award this neighborhood its name. The rules appear obvious at first. But in memory's prism, criminals and victims may seem to trade places. The voices of the past may seem to rise and gather as if in harmony, then make war with one another. A street may seem to crack open and reveal what lies behind its glimmering facade. None who lived through it are ever permitted to forget.

 

Mental health matters

The Best Minds by Jonathan Rosen  

Jonathan Rosen

The best minds

When the Rosens moved to New Rochelle in 1973, Jonathan Rosen and Michael Laudor seemed destined to become inseparable. The boys, both children of college professors, grew up on the same street in intellectually vibrant homes shaped by ideas, liberal Jewish culture, the trauma of the Holocaust, and a shared love of basketball and standup comedy. Exploring the dramatic transformation of American culture and of society's relationship to mental illness in the second half of the twentieth century, this is a story about the power and limits of the bonds of family, friendship, and community, the lure of the American dream and the promise of academic achievement. At times tender and hilarious, and at times harrowing and almost unbearably sad, The Best Minds is an extreme version of a story that is tragically familiar to all too many.

 

The past is not another country

The Only Language They Understand by Nathan Thrall  

Nathan Thrall

A day in the life of Abed Salama

Milad is five years old and excited for his school trip to a theme park on the outskirts of Jerusalem, but tragedy awaits- his bus is involved in a horrific accident. His father, Abed, rushes to the chaotic site, only to find Milad has already been taken away. Abed sets off on a journey to learn Milad's fate, navigating a maze of physical, emotional, and bureaucratic obstacles he must face as a Palestinian. A Day in the Life of Abed Salama is a deeply immersive, stunningly detailed portrait of life in Israel and Palestine, and an illumination of the reality of one of the most contested places on earth.

Our Vision for Liberation by Ilan Pappé  

Ilan Pappé

Our vision for liberation : engaged Palestinian leaders and intellectuals speak

Our Vision for Liberation: Engaged Palestinian Leaders and Intellectuals Speak Out aims to challenge several strata of the current Palestine discourse that have led to the present dead end: the American pro-Israel political discourse, the Israeli colonial discourse, the Arab discourse of purported normalization, and the defunct discourse of the Palestinian factions. None promote justice, none have brought resolution; none bode well for any of the parties involved. Here, an alternative Palestinian view of liberation and decolonization is provided by engaged Palestinian leaders and intellectuals, those who been actively involved in generating an ongoing Palestinian discourse on liberation, taking into account the parameters of their struggle as it now stands.

Trump's Australia by Bruce Wolpe  

Bruce Wolpe

Trump's Australia : how Trumpism changed Australia and the shocking consequences for us of a second term

What if Trump (or a Trump-like candidate) becomes US president in 2024? Leading expert and US and Australian politics insider Bruce Wolpe reveals the many ways in which Australia was damaged by Donald Trump's presidency. Seeping into Australia from above and below, Trumpism contaminated public debate, emboldened local political and religious extremists, diminished Australia's economy and international relations-and much more. Wolpe predicts America's democracy won't survive a second Trump term.

 

Me, me, me

The Empty Honour Board by Martin Flanagan  

Martin Flanagan

The empty honour board : a school memoir

A prison diary, a story of brotherly love, a journey of redemption, Martin Flanagan's compelling book about his boarding school days goes inside an experience many have had but few have talked about. In 1966, at the age of 10, Martin Flanagan was sent to a Catholic boarding school in north-west Tasmania. Of the 12 priests on the staff, three have since gone to prison for sexual crimes committed against boys in their care.

An Uneasy Inheritance by Polly Toynbee  

Polly Toynbee

An uneasy inheritance

While for generations Polly Toynbee's ancestors have been committed left-wing rabble-rousers railing against injustice, they could never claim to be working class, settling instead for the prosperous life of academia or journalism enjoyed by their own forebears. So where does that leave their ideals of class equality?

 

The rocks remain: blak poetry & story

She is the Earth by Ali Cobby Eckermann  

Ali Cobby Eckermann

She is the Earth : a verse novel

She is the Earth is the luminous new verse novel from celebrated poet Ali Cobby Eckermann. It charts a journey through grief and celebrates the healing power of Country. We follow Eckermann's soft footfalls in the open (but far from empty) spaces between earth and sky; from sandstone to wetlands, from plains to mountain ranges.

Where the Fruit Falls by Karen Wyld  

Karen Wyld

Where the fruit falls

Brigid Devlin, a young Aboriginal woman, and her twin daughters navigate a troubled nation of First Peoples, settlers and refugees - all determined to shape a future on stolen land. Leaving the sanctuary of her family's apple orchard, Brigid sets off with no destination and a willy wagtail for company. As she moves through an everchanging landscape, Brigid unravels family secrets to recover what she'd lost - by facing the past, she finally accepts herself. Her twin daughters continue her journey with their own search for self-acceptance, truth and justice. This evocative family saga celebrates the strength and resilience of First Nation women, while touching on deeply traumatic aspects of Australian history. Threads of magic realism shimmer throughout the story, offering a deeper understanding of reality and challenging the reader to imagine a kinder, more just, more humane world. This writing celebrates the agency of Indigenous women to traverse ever-present landscapes of colonisation and intergenerational trauma. Country has an omniscient presence in the story lines, guiding the women across vivid desert and coastal landscapes. This book recognises both the open wounds of living histories of colonisation and the healing power of belonging to Country.

 

Voices of place

Family Meal by Bryan Washington  

Bryan Washington

Family meal

Cam is living in Los Angeles and falling apart after the love of his life has died. Kai's ghost won't leave Cam alone; his spectral visits wild, tender, unexpected, and explosive. When Cam returns to his hometown of Houston, he crashes back into the orbit of his former best friend, TJ, and TJ's family bakery. TJ's not sure how to navigate this changed Cam, impenetrably cool and self-destructing, or their charged estrangement. Can they find a way past all that has been said - and left unsaid - to save each other?

 

More from Writer's Week

Lies My Mirror Told Me by Wendy Harmer  

Wendy Harmer

Lies my mirror told me

Wendy Harmer has had an extraordinary life. From being born with a severe facial deformity, to performing as a stand-up comedian, a national television host and then going on to be the highest paid woman in the cut-throat world of Sydney FM radio ... her tale of overcoming adversity is told with her trademark frankness and celebrated wit. She is also known as a prolific magazine, newspaper columnist and best-selling author. In Lies My Mirror Told Me Wendy reflects on her life in one of the most unlikely success stories you will ever read.

Yeah, Nah! by William McInnes  

William McInnes

Yeah, nah!

Have you ever bunged it on? Behaved like a drongo? Added mayo to a story? Lost your Reg Grundies? Join bestselling storyteller William McInnes as he offers his own take on our colourful and colloquial way with words. From the simpler times of childhood to today's testing (and unprecedented!) times, or when we're wasting time, enjoying sporting times or hitting the big time, Australians have a turn of phrase for every situation.

Young Rupert by Walter Marsh  

Walter Marsh

Young Rupert

For half a century, the Murdoch media empire and its polarising patriarch have swept across the globe, shaking up markets and democracies in their wake. But how did it all start? In September 1953, 22-year-old Rupert Murdoch landed in Adelaide, South Australia. Fresh from Oxford with a radical reputation, the young and brash son of Sir Keith Murdoch had arrived to fulfil his father's dying wish -- for Rupert to live a 'useful altruistic and full life' in the media. For decades, Sir Keith had been a giant of the Australian press, but his final years were spent bitterly fending off rivals and would-be successors. When the dust settled on his father's estate, Rupert was left with the Adelaide-based News Ltd and its afternoon paper The News -- a minor player in a small, parochial city. But even this inheritance was soon under siege, as the left-wing 'Boy Publisher' stared down his father's old colleagues at the city's paper of record, The Advertiser, and a conservative establishment kept in power by a decades-old gerrymander.

Stories of Your Life and Others by Ted Chiang  

Ted Chiang

Stories of your life and others

From a soaring Babylonian tower that connects a flat Earth with the firmament above, to a world where angelic visitations are a wondrous and terrifying part of everyday life; from a neural modification that eliminates the appeal of physical beauty, to an alien language that challenges our very perception of time and reality... Chiang's rigorously imagined fantasia invites us to question our understanding of the universe and our place in it.

A Dangerous Business by Jane Smiley  

Jane Smiley

A dangerous business

From a brilliant Pulitzer Prize-winning and best-selling author: a rollicking murder mystery set in Gold Rush California, as two young prostitutes follow a trail of missing girls. Monterey, 1851. Ever since her husband was killed in a bar fight, Eliza Ripple has been working in a brothel. It seems like a better life, at least at first.

Edenglassie by Melissa Lucashenko  

Melissa Lucashenko

Edenglassie

Two extraordinary Indigenous stories set five generations apart. When Mulanyin meets the beautiful Nita in Edenglassie, their saltwater people still outnumber the British. As colonial unrest peaks, Mulanyin dreams of taking his bride home to Yugambeh Country, but his plans for independence collide with white justice. Two centuries later, fiery activist Winona meets Dr Johnny. Together they care for obstinate centenarian Grannie Eddie, and sparks fly, but not always in the right direction. In this brilliant epic, Melissa Lucashenko torches Queensland's colonial myths, while reimagining an Australian future.

Muster Dogs by Lisa Millar  

Lisa Millar

Muster Dogs : from pups to pros : how ten dogs stole hearts and changed lives

How ten dogs stole the hearts of millions and changed lives forever, for fans of the TV show now streaming on Netflix and ABC iView. When Muster Dogs first hit screens in 2022, viewers were enchanted. Five lively kelpie pups adopted into farming homes across Australia and put on an intensive training program and became instant stars. Could they learn to herd and muster within a year? Could they prove that working with natural ability was an optimum way to farm? With the help of expert breeders and trainers, these dogs and their new trainers showcased not only what the puppies were capable of but how using dogs contributed to better stock, farm management and environment.

The Bookbinder of Jericho by Pip Williams  

Pip Williams

The bookbinder of Jericho

What is lost when knowledge is withheld? In 1914, when the war draws the young men of Britain away to fight, it is the women who must keep the nation running. Two of those women are Peggy and Maude, twin sisters who work in the bindery at Oxford University Press in Jericho. Peggy is intelligent, ambitious and dreams of going to Oxford University, but for most of her life she has been told her job is to bind the books, not read them. Maude, meanwhile, wants nothing more than what she has. She is extraordinary but vulnerable. Peggy needs to watch over her. When refugees arrive from the devastated cities of Belgium, it sends ripples through the community and through the sisters' lives.

Restless Dolly Maunder by Kate Grenville  

Kate Grenville

Restless Dolly Maunder

An exquisite fictional portrait of Kate Grenville's complex, conflicted grandmother--a woman Kate feared as a child, and only came to understand in adulthood. Dolly Maunder was born at the end of the nineteenth century, when society's long-locked doors were finally starting to creak ajar for women. Born into a poor farming family in country New South Wales but clever, energetic and determined, she spent her restless life pushing at those doors.

My Country by David Marr  

David Marr

My country : stories, essays & speeches

My Country includes early works -- such as his review of the first Rocky Horror Picture Show and his reporting on the 1978 Mardi Gras police bashings -- all the way to the most piercing accounts of Tony Abbott's punch. Along the way there is Patrick White, Garfield Barwick, asylum seekers, the Henson case, Pauline Hanson, Cardinal Pell and more. "My Country" anthologises Marr's powerful reflections on religion, sex, censorship and the law; striking accounts of leaders, moralists and scandalmongers; elegant ruminations on the arts and the lives of artists.

Aphrodite's Breath by Susan Johnson  

Susan Johnson

Aphrodite's breath

What happens when you take your 85-year-old mother to live with you on a Greek island? In life, as in myth, women are the ones who are supposed to stay home like Penelope, weaving at their looms, rather than leaving home like Odysseus. Meet eighty-five-year-old Barbara and her sixty-two-year-old writer daughter Susan, who asked her mother -- on a whim -- if she wanted to accompany her to live on the Greek island of Kythera.

Tomorrow Perhaps the Future by Sarah Watling  

Sarah Watling

Tomorrow perhaps the future

In the 1930s, women and men from across Britain, Europe and America made their way to Spain to be part of what they identified as a historic fight for freedom from fascism. Tomorrow Perhaps the Future follows a handful of extraordinary outsiders who were determined to live out their lives with courage and conviction. In our age of political divisions and war, Tomorrow Perhaps the Future is a book that asks questions of solidarity, resistance and the arts, which explores how we respond to the need to declare a side, and how we know when that moment, the moment to step forward has arrived.

Non-Essential Work by Omar Sakr  

Omar Sakr

Non-essential work

In this exciting follow-up to his acclaimed collection The Lost Arabs, poet Omar Sakr delves deep into his loves and losses to create a riveting literary experience. Asking questions of timeliness and timelessness, Non-Essential Work is a restless and relentless volume that showcases a poet unquestionably in his prime.

Frank Moorhouse by Catharine Lumby  

Catharine Lumby

Frank Moorhouse

Many writers fashion a career out of their writing. Some fashion brilliant careers. Very few, however, commit to their art in a manner that inflects every aspect of their own daily life. Frank Moorhouse was one of the rare writers who actively chose to live a life that was as grounded in conscious aesthetic and ethical choices as was his writing. A decade before his death in 2022, Frank Moorhouse asked renowned journalist, writer and academic Catharine Lumby to be his biographer. In this fascinating and crucial work, Catharine Lumby threads the intellectual and aesthetic aspects of Moorhouse's literary, personal and political life into a sparkling dialogue, highlighting the depth of his impact on Australian literature and culture.

Homecoming by Kate Morton  

Kate Morton

Homecoming

Adelaide Hills, Christmas Eve, 1959: At the end of a scorching hot day, beside a creek in the grounds of a grand country house, a local man makes a terrible discovery. Police are called, and the small town of Tambilla becomes embroiled in one of the most baffling murder investigations in the history of South Australia. Many years later and thousands of miles away, Jess is a journalist in search of a story. Having lived and worked in London for nearly two decades, she now finds herself unemployed and struggling to make ends meet. A phone call summons her back to Sydney, where her beloved grandmother, Nora, who raised Jess when her mother could not, has suffered a fall and is seriously ill in hospital. At Nora's house, Jess discovers a true-crime book chronicling a long-buried police case: the Turner Family Tragedy of 1959.


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