Talking Ideas speakers

Speakers

Dr Karl Kruszelnicki

30 years of science with Dr Karl Kruszelnicki | 11 November 2019

Australia’s most popular science writer and national treasure, Dr Karl Kruszelnicki AM has sold more than 1.2 million books in Australia. In this compelling and entertaining evening, the living legend shared the fun and games as he continues his admirable if ambitious 30+-year mission to track down all the awesome stories in and of the universe.

Dr Karl showcased content from his new-look, large-format full-colour new book Dr Karl’s Random Road Trip Through Science, packed with scintillating stories as well as funny and clever illustrations.

Anna Funder

Looking back at Stasiland with Anna Funder | 9 November 2019

Coinciding with the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall and the re-release of Stasiland, Anna Funder discussed her writing, books and more with journalist and award-winning author, Kristina Olsson.

Stasiland won the 2004 Samuel Johnson Prize and was published in twenty countries and translated into sixteen languages. This now classic work is a definitive account of tyranny and resistance in the former East Germany.

Mem Fox

Mem Fox in conversation with Trent Dalton | 30 October 2019

Mem Fox celebrated her new book The Tiny Star in a very special event with journalist and multi-award winning author of Boy Swallows Universe, Trent Dalton.

In this event for teachers, teacher-librarians, parents and carers, these two award-winning writers discussed the importance of fostering a love of reading between carer and child, sharing stories across generations, inspiration, life, and why writers must write.

Mem Fox has written more than thirty-eight books for adults and children including Possum Magic, which has sold more than three million copies and is the bestselling picture book ever in Australia.

Tara Moss

Crime Culture with Tara Moss | 28 October 2019

Visiting from Canada, Tara Moss sat down with crime fiction writer, Cass Moriarty to discuss the first book in her new crime fiction series, Dead Man Switch. The conversation ranged from crime fiction, writing, through to reflecting on strong women working in a predominately male world.

Tara Moss is the best-selling author of eleven books including non-fiction, the acclaimed Mak Vanderwall crime-fiction series and Pandora English paranormal series. Tara is also a journalist, doctoral candidate, presenter, documentary co-producer and co-writer, model, and outspoken advocate for children’s rights and women’s rights.

Adele Ferguson

Banking Bad with Adele Ferguson | 12 August 2019

In conversation with political analyst, Dennis Atkins, Adele discussed her investigations into financial institutions and the resulting book, Banking Bad.

Adele Ferguson’s investigations were influential in bringing about the Banking Royal Commission that uncovered shocking truths about industry practices.

In this revealing event, Adele discussed the origins of the scandal dating back to the 1990s, the highly-ranked executives who fell very publicly from grace, the compromised regulators, and the recommendations of Commissioner Kenneth Hayne to a government who never wanted the investigation at all.

Behrouz Boochani

No Friend But the Mountains with Behrouz Boochani | 4 August 2019

Live-streamed from Manus Island to State Library of Queensland, Behrouz Boochani, award-winning advocate and author of No Friend But The Mountains joined collaborator, translator, and community advocate Omid Tofighian to discuss writing, power, freedom, humanity and Australian immigration policy with ABC Radio’s Cathy Van Extel.

Behrouz Boochani is a Kurdish-Iranian writer, journalist, scholar, cultural advocate, and filmmaker. No Friend But the Mountains won the Victorian Prize for Literature and Non-Fiction category at the 2019 Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards. Behrouz also won the Special Award at the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards, and Non-Fiction Book of the Year at the Australian Book Industry Awards in 2019.

Tara June Winch

Tara June Winch in conversation with Melissa Lucashenko | 4 July 2019

Wiradjuri author, Tara June Winch and 2019 Miles Franklin winner, Melissa Lucashenko discussed The Yield; Tara’s much anticipated follow up to her critically-acclaimed debut novel, Swallow the Air.

Based on historical fact and centuries of cultural knowledge, Tara June Winch shared insights on the night into how she crafted a novel panning 200 years of Wiradjuri history and incorporating several narrative strands that gently circle the horror of white Australia’s making. 

Kári Gíslason

A Journey to Viking Iceland with Kári Gíslason | 12 June 2019

Part performance, part storytelling, Kári Gíslason shared one of the great Icelandic stories. The audience was transported to ancient Iceland and to extraordinary landscapes in an event that joined performance, images and song with Kári’s thrilling evocation of the sagas, the best stories ever written.

In 2018, Kári travelled back to his birthplace and into the footsteps of the Viking settlers. He went in search of people whose stories are still loved. The sagas are the national treasures of Iceland, and monuments of world literature. But they are not just stories of exile. At their heart, the sagas are also tales of belonging and return. 

Bruce Pascoe

2019 Narelle Oliver Lecture with Bruce Pascoe | 24 May 2019

Bruce Pascoe, award-winning author of Dark Emu, delivered the 2019 Narelle Oliver Lecture acknowledging the International Year of Indigenous Languages and encouraging us to teach children the truth about Australia’s history.

Pascoe is a long-time student and teacher of Wathaurong language and has worked extensively on the resurrection of the Yuin language understanding that culture is embedded in language.

The Narelle Oliver Lecture is an initiative of Book Links Queensland raising the profile of Children’s Literature. As part of this event the winner of the 2019 Short Story Competition was announced: Genevieve Young for The Microscope.

Anna Rosling

Factfulness with Anna Rosling | 22 May 2019

This inspiring and revelatory evening with Anna Rosling was filled with lively anecdotes and moving stories in an insistently hopeful and fact-based booster shot for a doom saying, world-weary population.

Factfulness, written by the late Hans Rosling, Professor of International Health and a man who made data sing, together with his son and daughter-in-law and long-time collaborators Ola and Anna Rosling, offers a radical new explanation of why we humans so often get the answers wrong when asked simple questions about global trends and reveals the ten instincts that distort our perspective.

Akala

Akala: Natives, Race And Class In The Ruins Of The Empire | 8 May 2019

Award-winning hip-hop artist, social entrepreneur and writer Akala delivered a talk about his bestselling debut, Natives, a searing, modern polemic on race and class in the British Empire. He reflected on growing up poor, mixed race and politicised in Britain during the 1980s and ’90s and widened his experiences into a nuanced historical treatise that the Guardian has lauded as ‘the kind of disruptive, aggressive intellect that a new generation is closely watching.

Andrew Sean Greer

Less with Andrew Sean Greer | 7 May 2019

In this lively event, Andrew Sean Greer spoke with UQ Associate Professor Bronwyn Lea about his 2018 Pulitzer Prize winning book, Less.

Less is Greer’s sixth book. It is the comedy of a man fleeing the humiliations of love, middle-age, and failure by accepting invitations that lead to a trip around the world and back, at last, to face his final demon: himself.  It won the Northern California Book Award for Fiction, entered the New York Times bestseller list and, in April 2018, was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in Fiction.

Sydney Writers' Festival Live & Local

4-5 May 2019

Some of the world’s finest authors were livestreamed to the State Library of Queensland’s Knowledge Walk direct from the Sydney Writers’ Festival at Carriageworks in Sydney.

Across the weekend, audiences were stimulated and engaged by conversations, debates and discussions at one of Australia’s best-loved forums for literature, ideas and storytelling.

Dr Munjed al Muderis

Meet Dr Munjed Al Muderis | 20 March 2019

In a moving conversation with ABC Radio’s Paul Barclay (Big Ideas), Dr Munjed Al Muderis discussed his emotional return to Iraq, 18 years after he left. At the invitation of the Iraqi government, Munjed used his medical techniques to change the lives of injured soldiers, police and civilians who had lost limbs through the horrific war against ISIS.

An Iraqi refugee who became an internationally-celebrated surgeon, Associate Professor, Al Muderis has had a life filled with heartbreak and hope. Following on from his best-selling memoir Walking Free, Munjed visited Brisbane to share the next chapter of an extraordinary journey in his follow-up book, Going Back.

Lynda La Plante

An evening with Lynda La Plante | 13 February 2019

British Crime Queen Lynda La Plante shared hilarious tales and insights with ABC Radio’s Loretta Ryan, and spoke about her new book, Widows’ Revenge at her only Queensland appearance.

The Emmy and BAFTA-winning creator of the acclaimed Prime Suspect television crime series, starring Helen Mirren, Lynda also crafted the phenomenally successful series Widows (recently adapted into a film by Steve McQueen). In 2008, Lynda was made a CBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List for services to Literature, Drama and Charity. She is a member of The Crime Thriller Awards Hall of Fame and is the only lay person to be made a fellow of The Forensic Science Society.

Peter FitzSimons AM

Mutiny On The Bounty: An evening with Peter FitzSimons AM | 22 November 2018

Peter FitzSimons AM, Australia’s master storyteller, brought to life the dramatic story of Captain William Bligh, Fletcher Christian and history's most famous mutiny on HMS Bounty.

Set in the South Pacific on 28 April 1789, the mutiny on the Bounty is one of history's truly great stories — a tale of human drama, intrigue and adventure of the highest order, and in the hands of Peter FitzSimons it comes to life as never before.

Chloe Hooper

In The Mind Of An Arsonist: Chloe Hooper in conversation with Paul Barclay | 14 November 2018

What kind of person would deliberately set a firestorm? What kind of mind? On the scorching February day in 2009 that became known as Black Saturday, Brendan Sokaluk lit two fires in Victoria’s Latrobe Valley, then sat on the roof of his house to watch the inferno.  The day after Sokaluk’s arrest, Chloe Hooper drove to the fire ravaged Valley to ask who becomes an arsonist and why?

Chloe Hooper (Tall Man, The Arsonist) sat down with ABC Radio’s Paul Barclay (Big Ideas) to share the compelling journey she took inside the mind of Brendan Sokaluk, of the firestorm he set, and the investigation and court case that followed.

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