‘My despair about the American novel began in the winter of 1991, when I fled to Yaddo, the artists’ colony in upstate New York, to write the last two chapters of my second book […] I began to think the most reasonable thing for a citizen to do might be to enter a monastery and pray for humanity.’
It’s been 25 years since Jonathan Franzen published his landmark essay ‘Why Bother?’ in Harper’s Magazine. It detailed his ‘despair about the American novel’ as it then faced down the looming distractions of the technological age and the out-of-touch, military-obsessed politicians of the 1990s. Sound familiar?
In the years since, Franzen has continued to write and release best-selling, critically-acclaimed novels – including The Corrections, Freedom and Purity – exploring politics, families, and the social dynamics that ensnare our lives.
Franzen’s latest novel, Crossroads, is an epic family saga spanning three generations of the Hildebrandt family as they navigate the political, intellectual, and social crosscurrents of the past 50 years.
In his first Australian event celebrating the release of this highly-anticipated new work, the singular Jonathan Franzen will discuss family, America, and where the modern novel must go from here with ABC Radio National’s Sarah Kanowski.
When: Tuesday 5 October 2021 7.30pm – Tuesday 12 October 2021 7.30pm Where: Online, on-demand
Tickets for this event are $15 and $10 concession plus a one-off transaction fee of $4 per order, and will allow you to view the conversation until Tuesday 12 October 7.30pm AEDT.
Presented in partnership with The Wheeler Centre and Newcastle Writers Festival
Jonathan Franzen is the author of six novels, including Crossroads, Freedom and The Corrections, and five works of nonfiction and translation, including The Kraus Project and Farther Away. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the German Akademie der Kunste, and the French Ordre des Arts et des Lettres. He is recognised as one of the best American writers of our age and has won many awards. He lives in New York City and Santa Cruz, California.
About Sarah Kanowski
Sarah co-presents Conversations on ABC Radio and podcast. She previously presented Books and Arts on ABC RN and joined the ABC as a producer on Late Night Live.
Sarah won a Commonwealth Scholarship to study English at the University of Oxford, where she wrote a thesis on the Mosley family. She then spent a year in South America before settling back in Australia. In Hobart she edited the literary magazine Island, until sun and family beckoned her back to Brisbane where she now lives with her husband, three children, and three chooks.
Who Gets to Be Smart: Bri Lee in conversation with Courtney Miller
A forensic and hard-hitting exploration of knowledge, power and privilege.
Bri Lee’s new book Who Gets To Be Smart is a timely investigation into the current discussions around class and privilege in Australia and around the world.
Interrogating the adage, ‘knowledge is power’, and calling institutional prejudice to account, Bri once again dives into her own privilege and presumptions to bring us the stark and confronting results. Far from offering any ‘equality of opportunity’, Australia’s education system exacerbates social stratification. The questions Bri asks of politics and society have their answers laid bare in the responses to the Ramsay Centre for Western Civilisation, COVID-19, and the Black Lives Matter protests of 2020.
When: Wednesday 9 June, 6.30-7.30pm
Where: Byron Theatre, 69 Jonson Street Byron Bay
Tickets: $25 Members / $30 General + booking fees
Accessibility This event will be Auslan interpreted.
Health & Safety
This is a Covidsafe event, therefore we will be operating at restricted capacity with social distancing measures in place.
For the health & safety of all, signage & sanitising stations are set up throughout the venue.
We ask that you adhere to all Covid guidelines while attending the event.
Bri Lee is an author and freelance writer. Her journalism has appeared in publications such as The Monthly, The Saturday Paper, Guardian Australia and Crikey. Her first book, Eggshell Skull, won Biography of the Year at the ABIA Awards, the People’s Choice Award at the Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards, and was longlisted for the 2019 Stella Prize. She is also a non-practicing lawyer and continues to engage in legal research and issues-based advocacy.
About Courtney Miller
Byron born with interludes in Europe, Africa, Asia and the United States. Courtney worked in politics, art, fashion and recently finished a Berkeley MPA.
Live & Local: Sarah Krasnostein & Helen Garner live from Sydney Writers’ Festival
Byron Writers Festival is pleased to once again bring Sydney Writers’ Festival’s live-streaming event Live & Local to Byron Theatre in 2021!
One of Australia’s best-loved forums for literature, ideas and storytelling, Sydney Writers’ Festival will be streaming Sarah Krasnostein & Maria Tumarkin live from Carriageworks in Sydney direct to Byron Theatre on Saturday 1 May.
In this very special conversation, author of The Trauma Cleaner Sarah Krasnostein discusses her new book, The Believer, a deftly drawn enquiry into the power of belief, with Maria Tumarkin.
Audiences will also have the opportunity to participate in a Q&A session at the event, sending questions direct to the stage.
When: Saturday 1 May Time: 1.45pm for a 2pm start Where: Byron Theatre, 69 Johnson Street Byron Bay Tickets: Members plus one guest FREE; General Admission $10
Sarah Krasnostein & Maria Tumarkin in conversation
After the runaway success of Sarah Krasnostein’s debut The Trauma Cleaner: One Woman’s Extraordinary Life in Death, Decay & Disaster, Sarah spent time in Australia and the US talking to six extraordinary people who held fast to a belief even though it rubbed against the grain of conventional wisdom. Her research culminated in The Believer: Encounters with Love, Death & Faith, a deeply humane and deftly drawn enquiry into the power of belief. Sarah is joined by fellow observer of human nature, Helen Garner, to explore what we believe in and why – from ghosts and UFOs to God and the devil, to dying with autonomy and beyond.
About Sarah Krasnostein
Sarah Krasnostein is a writer. She is admitted to legal practice in Australia and America, and holds a doctorate in criminal law. Sarah is the bestselling author of The Trauma Cleaner: One Woman’s Extraordinary Life in Death, Decay & Disaster, which won the Victorian Prize for Literature, the Victorian Premier’s Prize for Non-Fiction, the Australian Book Industry Award for General Non-Fiction and the Dobbie Literary Award. It also jointly won the Douglas Stewart Prize for Non-Fiction at the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards, was nominated for the Walkley Book Award, and was shortlisted for the National Biography Award, the Melbourne Prize for Literature and the Wellcome Book Prize (UK). Sarah’s work has appeared in a variety of publications in Australia, the UK and America. She is currently working on a Quarterly Essay on mental illness in Australia.
About Maria Tumarkin
Maria Tumarkin writes books, essays, reviews, and pieces for performance and radio. She also collaborates with sound and visual artists, and has had her work engraved into the paving at Victoria Harbour as part of the Melbourne Docklands Urban Art Program. Maria is the author of four books of ideas. Her fourth (and latest) book Axiomatic was named by TheNew Yorker as one of the best books of 2019. Maria is a recipient of the 2020 Windham Campbell Prize in the category of non-fiction. She holds a PhD in cultural history and teaches in the creative writing program at the University of Melbourne.