Books and Ideas at Montalto: Arnold Zable

Books and Ideas at Montalto: Arnold Zable

Arnold Zable is a much-loved Australian writer and a life-long traveller. He’s well known for his affectionate accounts of the characters and suburbs of his hometown, Melbourne (in Cafe Scheherazade and The Fighter) as well as his portraits of people and places he's encountered all across the world, in his incredibly far-reaching travels (Violin Lessons).

As a writer and a human rights advocate, Zable has written across a number of forms – including fiction, travelogue and biography – but all his work is consumed with questions of memory and displacement. His writing is gentle, wise and always deeply humane.

His new work, The Watermill, brings together many of these threads. It's a quartet of stories from his life and travels, carrying the reader from the remote provinces of China to Yiddish Poland, Kurdish Iran and present-day Melbourne. In the book, he explores how the tides of history affect the lives and destinies of individuals.

In this live-streamed conversation hosted by Sami Shah, Zable discusses writing, memory and a subject that’s woven through all his writing: the dignity and decency of ordinary people. 

Presented in partnership with Montalto. 


Portrait of Arnold Zable

Arnold Zable

Arnold Zable is a highly acclaimed novelist, storyteller and human rights advocate. His works include Scraps of Heaven, Violin LessonsThe Fighter, which was shortlisted for a Victorian Premier’s Literary Award and a New South Wales Premier’s Literary Award, and his most recent work The Watermill. Zable lives in Melbourne.

Portrait of Sami Shah

Sami Shah

Sami Shah is a multi-award winning comedian, writer, journalist and broadcaster.

Sami's comedy has won the Best Local Act at the 2013 Perth International Comedy Festival, and Best Comedy at 2016 Fringe World. He’s performed multiple sold-out runs at comedy festivals across Australia, as well as in London’s Soho Theatre. Sami has been a frequent guest on The Project, and also appeared on QI with Stephen Fry