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In 2020, Writers’ Week contemplates one of the few things that incontrovertibly unites us all: Being Human.

Through the words and minds of great thinkers, Writers’ Week explores how humans engage with each other, with technology, with the natural world.  It examines the stories we tell ourselves and those we construct.  It asks from where we can draw solace and inspiration.  It challenges us to avoid apathy and despair.  It applauds our curiosity in and engagement with the wider world.  It seeks joy and stimulation in our intellect and each other.

We hope you will join the authors, poets, journalists, historians, scientists, politicians and academics from around the world coming to Adelaide to be part of our annual conversation.  Explore the exciting list of authors below.

This year sees the return of the weekend for younger readers, including the powerful showcase of spoken word performance, Hear Me Roar.  We expand the Twilight Talks program from two to four nights, introducing our live chat show format, Authorial Voice.  And we kick things off on Thursday February 27 with the Opening Event - The Only Constant - an interrogation of change in our increasingly fluid world from three of our most intriguing speakers.


Follow Adelaide Writers’ Week page on Facebook to keep in touch with all our updates.


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Explore the Lineup

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Jokha Alharthi


Jokha Alharthi is the author of two previous collections of short fiction, a children's book, and three novels, and teaches at Sultan Qaboos University in Muscat. She is the only Arabic author to win the International Booker Prize, awarded to her novel Celestial Bodies in 2019.

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Arif Anwar


Arif Anwar was born in Chittagong, Bangladesh, and is now based in Toronto. He has worked on issues of poverty alleviation for BRAC, one of the world’s largest non-governmental organizations, and on public health for UNICEF Myanmar. The Storm is his first novel.

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Tash Aw


Tash Aw was born in Taipei, brought up in Malaysia and now lives in London. His first novel, The Harmony Silk Factory, was the winner of the Whitbread First Novel Award and the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for Best First Novel. It was long-listed for the Man Booker Prize, as was his third novel, Five Star Billionaire. His new novel is We, the Survivors.

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Damian Barr


Damian Barr is an award-winning writer and columnist and host of a famed literary salon at the Savoy in London. His first book, Maggie & Me, was an award-winning memoir about coming of age and coming out in Thatcher's Britain. You Will Be Safe Here is his debut novel.

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Graeme Base


Graeme Base has been writing and illustrating for children for over thirty years, with worldwide bestsellers Animalia, The Eleventh Hour and The Waterhole known and loved by millions around the world. The recipient of numerous Australian and international publishing awards, and with global sales exceeding six million copies, he has established himself as one of Australia's pre-eminent creators of imaginative works for children.

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Maxine Beneba Clarke


Maxine Beneba Clarke is a widely published Australian writer of Afro-Caribbean descent. She won the Australian Book Industry Award (ABIA) for Literary Fiction and the Indie Book Award for Debut Fiction for Foreign Soil (2015) and the NSW Premier's Literary Multicultural Awards for her memoir, The Hate Race. Both were shortlisted for the Stella Prize. Her poetry collection Carrying the World (2017) won the Victorian Premier's Literary Award for Poetry. The Patchwork Bike, Maxine's first picture book with Van T. Rudd, was a CBCA Honour Book for 2017.

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Tony Birch


Tony Birch is the author of books including Ghost River, which won the 2016 Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for Indigenous Writing, Blood, which was shortlisted for the Miles Franklin Award, and his new book The White Girl. He lives in Melbourne and is a Senior Research Fellow at Victoria University.

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John Birmingham


John Birmingham has written for Rolling Stone, Playboy, Long Bay Prison News, Quarterly Essay and The Monthly. His published works include the cult classic He Died With A Falafel In His Hand and the award-winning Leviathan: The Unauthorised Biography of Sydney. His essay On Father is a beautiful account of grief, depression and the death of his father.

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John Boyne


John Boyne is the author of eleven novels for adults, five for younger readers and a collection of short stories. His 2006 novel The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas sold 9 million copies worldwide and has been adapted for cinema, theatre, ballet and opera. John has won three Irish Book Awards and many other international literary awards and his novels are published in over 50 languages. He lives in Dublin.

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Jung Chang


Jung Chang (張戎) was born in Sichuan Province, China, and is the author of the best-selling books including Wild Swans: Three Daughters of China, described by The Asian Wall Street Journal as the most read book about China. Her books have been translated into more than 40 languages and sold more than 15 million copies worldwide, winning awards including the UK Writers’ Guild Best Non-Fiction and Book of the Year UK. Jung is an Honorary Fellow of SOAS University of London.

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Christopher Clark


Christopher Clark is Professor of Modern History at the University of Cambridge and a Fellow of St Catharine’s College. He is the author of books including The Politics of Conversion, Kaiser Wilhelm II and Iron Kingdom, and his latest book The Sleepwalkers: How Europe Went to War in 1914 was named as one of The New York Times Book Review’s 10 Best Books of the Year and won The Los Angeles Times Book Prize for History.

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Tim Costello


Tim Costello AO is one of Australia’s most respected community leaders and a sought after voice on social justice issues, leadership and ethics. He was Chief Executive of World Vision Australia for thirteen years, stepping down in 2016, and continues to place the challenges of global poverty on the national agenda. Tim is Senior Fellow for the Centre for Public Christianity.

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Hannah Critchlow


Hannah Critchlow is the Science Outreach Fellow at Magdalene College, University of Cambridge, and has been named a Top 100 UK Scientist by the Science Council for her work in science communication. Mentioned by Nature magazine as a rising star in the life sciences in 2019, she is listed as one of the University of Cambridge's 'inspirational and successful women in science'. The Science of Fate: Why Your Future is More Predictable Than You Think is her first book.

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Sophie Cunningham


Sophie Cunningham AM is the author of five books, most recently City of Trees: Essays on Life, Death and the Need for a Forest. She is a former publisher and editor, was a co-founder of the Stella Prize and is now an Adjunct Professor at RMIT University’s Non/fiction Lab.

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Blanche D’Alpuget


Blanche d’Alpuget is an acclaimed novelist, biographer and essayist. She has won numerous literary awards, including the inaugural Australasian Prize for Commonwealth Literature.

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Julia Donaldson


Julia Donaldson has written some of the world's best-loved children's books, including The Gruffalo and The Gruffalo's Child, which together have sold over 17 million copies worldwide. She was the UK Children’s Laureate 2011-13 and has been honoured with a CBE for Services to Literature.

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Chiké Frankie Edozien


Chiké Frankie Edozien learned to read from the newspapers his father brought home while growing up in Lagos, Nigeria. He went onto become an ink-stain scribbler telling stories in service of a greater good. His memoir, Lives of Great Men, won the Lambda Literary 2018 Non- fiction Award for Best Gay Memoir/Biography.

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Bart van Es


Born in the Netherlands, Bart van Es now lives in England where he is a Professor of English Literature at the University of Oxford and a Fellow of St. Catherine’s College. An expert on Shakespeare, he has written authoritative texts on Shakespeare’s work and times, including Shakespeare in Company (2013) and Shakespeare’s Comedies (2016). His most recent book is The Cut Out Girl, which won the 2019 Costa Book of the Year.

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Peter Goldsworthy


Peter Goldsworthy divides his working time between medicine and writing. His novels have sold over 400,000 copies in Australia alone, and his writing has been shortlisted and won major literary awards across a range of genres: poetry, short story, novels, theatre, and opera libretti. His most recent book is Minotaur.

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Jane R Goodall


Jane R Goodall is an Emeritus Professor with the Writing and Society Research Centre at the Western Sydney University. She has a diverse track record as a writer and commentator on the history and politics of cultural change, and has published both fiction and non-fiction. Her new book is The Politics of the Common Good.

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Erin Gough


Erin Gough is a Sydney-based writer whose work has been published globally and won many awards, including the 2019 Ethel Turner Prize for Young People's Literature and the 2018 Readings Young Adult Book Prize for her second novel, Amelia Westlake.

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Andy Griffiths


Andy Griffiths is one of Australia’s most popular children’s authors. He and illustrator Terry Denton have collaborated on more than 30 bestselling books and sold over 10 million copies, won 80 children’s choice awards and 10 Australian Book Industry Awards(ABIA)—including Book of the Year for The 91-Storey Treehouse in 2015. He is also an ambassador for both The Indigenous Literacy Foundation and the Pyjama Foundation.

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Habiburahman, known as Habib, is a Rohingya. Born in 1979 in Burma (now Myanmar), he escaped torture, persecution, and detention in his country, fleeing first to neighbouring countries in Southeast Asia, where he faced further discrimination and violence, and then to Australia, by boat. Habib spent 32 months in detention centres before being released. He now lives in Melbourne, where he collaborated with Sophie Ansel to write his memoir, First, They Erased Our Name, the first first-person account of the oppression of the Rohingya.

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Ruby Hamad


Ruby Hamad is a Lebanese-Syrian journalist and author raised and based in Sydney. Her work has appeared internationally in The Guardian, Prospect Magazine, and The New Arab, and locally in Crikey and The Saturday Paper. An article for The Guardian, “How White Women use Strategic Tears to Silence Women of Colour” from May 2018 went viral and inspired the writing of her first book, White Tears/Brown Scars.

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Zahra Hankir


Zahra Hankir is a Lebanese-British journalist who writes about the intersection of politics, culture and society in the Middle East. Her work has appeared in Vice, BBC News, Al Jazeera English, Bloomberg Businessweek, Roads & Kingdoms, and Literary Hub, among others. She is the editor of Our Women on the Ground: Essays by Arab Women reporting on the Arab World.

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Joy Harjo


Joy Harjo is the US Poet Laureate. She was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma and is a member of the Mvskoke Nation. Her seven books of poetry have garnered many awards, including the New Mexico Governor’s Award for Excellence in the Arts, the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Native Writers Circle of the Americas; and the William Carlos Williams Award from the Poetry Society of America. Her most recent publication is For a Girl Becoming, a young adult/coming of age book.

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Jess Hill


Jess Hill is an investigative journalist who has been writing about domestic violence since 2014. Prior to this, she was a producer for ABC Radio, a Middle East correspondent for The Global Mail, and an investigative journalist for Background Briefing. She was listed in Foreign Policy's top 100 women to follow on Twitter, and her reporting on domestic violence has won two Walkley awards, an Amnesty International award and three Our Watch awards. See What You Made Me Do is her first book.

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Ma Jian


Ma Jian has been described as China’s Solzhenitsyn. His first book, Stick Out Your Tongue (1987) was inspired by his travels to Tibet and led to the Chinese government banning his future work. He left Beijing for Hong Kong in 1987 as a dissident, but continued to travel to China, and he supported the pro-democracy activists in Tiananmen Square in 1989. After the handover of Hong Kong he moved to Germany and then London, where he now lives. His most recent book is the scathing satire China Dream.

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Tony Jones


Tony Jones is one of Australia’s most renowned and recognisable journalists. He has reported for Four Corners and presented Lateline, winning Walkleys for both, and is currently the host of Q&A. He published his first novel -the best-selling thriller The Twentieth Man in 2017. In Darkness Visible is his second novel.

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Amie Kaufman


Amie Kaufman is a New York Times and internationally bestselling author of science fiction and fantasy for young (and not so young) adults. Her multi-award winning work has been published in 30 countries, and been described as “a game-changer” (Shelf Awareness), “stylistically mesmerising” (Publishers Weekly) and “out-of-this-world awesome” (Kirkus). Amie lives in Melbourne with her husband and their rescue dog, Jack.

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Vicki Laveau-Harvie


Vicki Laveau-Harvie was born in Canada, lived for many years in France and is now based in Australia. She has worked as a translator, a business editor and an academic. Her memoir, The Erratics, is her first book and won the 2018 Finch Memoir Prize and the 2019 Stella Prize. She has also won prizes for her short fiction and poetry.

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Andrea Lawlor


Andrea Lawlor teaches writing at Mount Holyoke College, edits fiction for Fence magazine, and has been awarded fellowships by Lambda Literary and Radar Labs. Their writing has appeared in numerous literary journals and their first novel, Paul Takes the Form of a Mortal Girl, was a 2018 finalist for the Lambda Literary and CLMP Firecracker Awards.

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Litt Woon Long


Long Litt Woon was born in Malaysia and is now an anthropologist and certified Mushroom Expert in Norway. She went to Norway in her youth as an exchange student, where she met and later married a Norwegian, Eiolf Olsen, settling in Oslo. The Way Through the Woods: On Mushrooms and Mourning is her first book.

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Benjamin Law


Benjamin Law is the author of the memoir The Family Law, which he adapted for SBS TV, Gaysia, and a Quarterly Essay: Moral Panic 101. A columnist for Fairfax’s Good Weekend magazine, Law has also written for over 50 publications internationally and is a co-host of ABC Radio National’s Stop Everything.

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Sanam Maher


Sanam Maher is a journalist based in Karachi, Pakistan. For more than a decade, she has covered stories on Pakistan's art and culture, business, politics, religious minorities and women. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, Al Jazeera, The Caravan, Roads and Kingdoms and Buzzfeed. A Woman Like Her: The Short Life of Qandeel Baloch is her first book.

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John Marsden


John Marsden has written more than 40 books, mostly for teenagers and children. He has sold over five million books worldwide, and has won every major award in Australia for young people's fiction. His 2015 book for adults, South of Darkness, won the Christina Stead Award for Best Novel. John's passionate interest in education led him to start two successful schools and his latest book is The Art of Growing Up, a non-fiction work about education and parenting.

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Thomas Mayor


Thomas Mayor is a Torres Strait Islander man born on Larrakia country in Darwin. Using the organising and negotiating skills he learned as a union official, he began campaigning for the rights of Indigenous peoples, becoming a signatory to the Uluru Statement from the Heart and embarking on an eighteen-month journey around the country to garner support for it. His book Finding the Heart of the Nation: The Journey of the Uluru Statement towards Voice, Treaty and Truth continues that campaign.

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Felicity McLean


Felicity McLean is a writer and a journalist. As a ghostwriter, she has collaborated with celebrities, sports stars and business leaders, and, Body Lengths, a book co-written with Olympian Liesel Jones about Liesel’s life in and out of the pool, won Apple iBooks 2015 Best Biography of the Year and a Reader’s Choice’ ABIA. The Van Apfel Girls are Gone is her first novel and has been published in Australia, NZ, USA, UK, France and Spain.

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Louise Milligan


Louise Milligan is an investigative reporter for the ABC TV’s Four Corners. Her award-winning stories for ABC’s 7.30 on the abuse allegations against George Pell led to the book Cardinal: The Rise and Fall of Cardinal Pell, which was awarded the Walkley Book Award in 2017 and won the 2018 Civic Choice Award for the Melbourne Prize for Literature. Milligan is Irish-born and was raised a devoted Catholic.

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Azadeh Moaveni


Azadeh Moaveni is the author of Lipstick Jihad, the co-author, with Nobel Peace prize laureate Shirin Ebadi, of Iran Awakening and, most recently, Guest House for Young Widows: Women and ISIS. Since 1999, she has reported widely from Iran on youth culture, women’s rights, and Islamic reform for Time, The New York Times Book Review, The Washington Post, NPR, and the Los Angeles Times. She is currently a senior gender analyst for the International Crisis Group.

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Aileen Moreton-Robinson


Dr Aileen Moreton-Robinson is a Geonpul woman from Quandamooka (Moreton Bay, Queensland). She is Convenor in Indigenous Studies at the School of Humanities, Griffith University. Her writing has been published in Australian and international anthologies and journals and her book, Talkin’ Up to the White Woman (2000), was the first analysis of Australian feminism from an Indigenous perspective. It remains a classic text and a key Australian contribution to the global debate on gender and race.

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H M Naqvi


H. M. Naqvi is the acclaimed author of Home Boy, which won the inaugural DSC Prize for South Asian Literature. Naqvi has worked in the financial services industry, taught creative writing at Boston University, run a spoken word venue, and appeared on CNN, National Public Radio, and Bloomberg TV. He is currently Visiting Professor at the Lahore Institute of Management Sciences. The Selected Works of Abdullah the Cossack is his second book.

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Chigozie Obioma


Chigozie Obioma was born in Akure, Nigeria, and currently lives in the US, where he is Assistant Professor of Literature and Creative Writing at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. His debut novel, The Fishermen, was shortlisted for the Booker Prize and won many awards including the FT/Oppenheimer Award for Fiction and the LA Times Book Prize for Fiction. His most recent book, An Orchestra of Minorities has also been shortlisted for the Booker.

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Tommy Orange


Tommy Orange is a graduate of the MFA program at the Institute of American Indian Arts. An enrolled member of the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes of Oklahoma, he was born and raised in Oakland, California. His first novel, There There, was shortlisted for the 2019 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, long-listed for the National Book Awards and won many awards including the PEN/Hemingway and the National Critics Circle Award for debut works.

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Bruce Pascoe


Bruce Pascoe is an award-winning writer and a Yuin, Bunurong and Tasmanian man. He is a board member of First Languages Australia and Professor of Indigenous Knowledge at the University of Technology Sydney. In 2018 he was named Dreamtime Person of the Year for his contribution to Indigenous culture. His most recent book, Dark Emu, rewrote the story of pre-invasion Aboriginal governance and agriculture, garnering many awards along the way.

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Elliot Perlman


Elliot Perlman is the author of five books, including Three Dollars, which won the Age Book of the Year Award, Seven Types of Ambiguity, which was shortlisted for the Miles Franklin Award, was a New York Times Book Review “Notable Book of the Year” and was made into an award-winning ABC TV series, and the internationally acclaimed The Street Sweeper. Maybe The Horse Will Talk is his latest novel.

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Julia Phillips


Julia Phillips lives in Brooklyn. Her debut novel, Disappearing Earth, has been published in the US UK, Germany, Italy, Poland, and China, and nominated for the 2019 US Center for Fiction First Novel Prize. Her Pushcart-nominated fiction has been widely published in literary journals and her nonfiction has appeared in publications including The Atlantic and Slate. She spent a year as a Fulbright fellow in Russia's Kamchatka peninsula, where Disappearing Earth is set.

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Serhii Plokhy


Serhii Plokhy is the Mykhailo Hrushevsky Professor of Ukrainian History at Harvard University. He has published in English, Russian and Ukrainian as well as having taught in Canada, Ukraine and the USA. His bestselling book Chernobyl: the History of a Tragedy won the Baillie Gifford Prize for Non-fiction 2018. His latest book, Forgotten Bastards of the Eastern Front: An Untold Story of World War II is published in October 2019.

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Sally Rippin


Sally Rippin has published over seventy books, many of them award-winning. Including the highly acclaimed Polly and Buster trilogy and the popular Billie B Brown and Hey Jack! books. She is Australia’s highest selling female author and her books have sold more than 4.5 million copies in 14 languages.

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Michael Robotham


Before becoming a novelist, Michael Robotham was an investigative journalist working in the US, Australia and Britain. His 2004 debut thriller, The Suspect, sold more than one million copies around the world. In 2015 he won the UK's prestigious Crime Writers' Association Gold Dagger Award for his thriller Life or Death. His most recent book is Good Girl, Bad Girl. He lives in Sydney.

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Heather Rose


Heather Rose is the Australian author of eight novels, writing for both adults and children. Her books have been shortlisted, long-listed or won awards for literary fiction, crime fiction, fantasy/ sci fi and children’s literature, with novel The Museum of Modern Love notably winning the 2017 Stella Award. Her new book is Bruny.

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Joan Silber


Joan Silber is the author of eight books of fiction. Her 2013 novel Fools was long-listed for the National Book Award and was a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award, and her 2019 novel, Improvement, won the PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction. Joan lives in New York and teaches at Sarah Lawrence College and in the Warren Wilson MFA Program.

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Robert Elliott Smith


Robert Elliott Smith is the author of Rage Inside the Machine: The Prejudice of Algorithms, and How to Stop the Internet Making Bigots of Us All. He has worked in artificial intelligence for 30 years, helping create software systems that learn fighter jet manoeuvres, describe immune systems, reveal emotion in financial markets, and suggest how social networks propagate political polarisation. He is the CTO of BOXARR Ltd. and a faculty member at University College London.

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Pitchaya Sudbunthad


Pitchaya Sudbanthad grew up in Thailand, Saudi Arabia, and the American South. He has received fellowships in fiction writing from the New York Foundation for the Arts and the MacDowell Colony, and currently splits his time between Bangkok and Brooklyn. Bangkok Wakes to Rain is his first novel, and has been nominated for the 2019 US Center for Fiction First Novel Prize.

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Jamie Susskind


Jamie Susskind is a writer, speaker, and practising barrister whose work has appeared in publications including The New York Times, Wired, New Statesman, and The Jewish Chronicle. He is the author of the award-winning bestseller Future Politics: Living Together in a World Transformed by Tech, an Evening Standard and Prospect Book of the Year, and a Guardian Book of the Day. Future Politics was awarded the 2019 Estoril Global Issues Distinguished Book Prize.

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Miriam Sved


Miriam Sved is a Melbourne-based writer whose debut novel, Game Day, was published in 2014. She has been a contributing editor to the feminist anthologies Mothers and Others, Just Between Us, and #MeToo: Stories from the Australian movement, and her novella All the Things I Should've Given was a winner of Griffith Review's 2018 Novella Project. A Universe of Sufficient Size is her second novel.

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Lucy Treloar


Lucy Treloar is the author of the novel Salt Creek (2015), which won the Indie Award for Best Debut, the ABIA Matt Richell Award and the Dobbie Award, and was shortlisted for prizes including the Miles Franklin Award and the UK's Walter Scott Prize. Lucy's second novel Wolfe Island was published in 2019. She lives in inner Melbourne with her family.

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Yanis Varoufakis


Yanis Varoufakis is an economist and co-founder of the DiEM25 movement for democracy, which he was re-elected to the Greek parliament to represent in 2019. A former Finance Minister of Greece, he is the author of a memoir, Adults in the Room, and a history, And the Weak Suffer What They Must?, which reveal and explain the catastrophic mishandling of Europe since the financial crisis. Both were number one bestsellers. His latest bestseller is Talking To My Daughter About the Economy: A Brief History of Capitalism.

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Tara June Winch


Tara June Winch is a Wiradjuri author, born in Australia and based in France. Her first novel, Swallow the Air, was critically acclaimed and won numerous literary awards. In 2008, Tara was mentored by Nobel Prize winner Wole Soyinka as part of the prestigious Rolex Mentor and Protégé Arts Initiative. Her second book, the story collection After the Carnage, was shortlisted for the 2017 NSW Premier’s and the Queensland Literary Awards for Fiction. Her second novel, The Yield, was published in 2019.

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Charlotte Wood


Charlotte Wood is the author of six novels and two books of non-fiction. Her bestselling novel, The Natural Way of Things, won the 2016 Stella Prize, the Indie Book of the Year and Indie Book Award for Fiction, was joint winner of the Prime Minister's Literary Award for Fiction, and was published throughout Europe, the United Kingdom and North America. She has been twice shortlisted for the Miles Franklin Literary Award, as well as many others for this and previous works. Her latest novel is The Weekend.

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Angela Woollacott


Angela Woollacott is the Manning Clark Professor of History at the Australian National University and an elected Fellow of the Royal Historical Society, the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia, and the Australian Academy of the Humanities.

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Tyson Yunkaporta


Tyson Yunkaporta is an academic, an arts critic, and a researcher who belongs to the Apalech Clan in Far North Queensland. He carves traditional tools and weapons and also works as a senior lecturer in Indigenous Knowledges at Deakin University in Melbourne. Sand Talk: How Indigenous Thinking Can Save the World is his first book.

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Nevo Zisin


Nevo Zisin is a Jewish, queer, non-binary writer, activist and public speaker with a particular focus on issues surrounding gender, sex, culture and sexuality. They run workshops in schools and workplaces around trans issues. They are the author of the award-winning Finding Nevo, a memoir on gender transition.