Books and Ideas at Montalto
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Small-town secrets, police politics and catastrophic loss – all loomed large in Chloe Hooper’s groundbreaking 2008 narrative non-fiction book, The Tall Man, about tragedy on Palm Island in Queensland. Her new book treads similar thematic ground – but in the drastically different landscape of Gippsland, Victoria, at the time of the February 2009 Black Saturday fires.
With The Arsonist, Hooper takes readers inside the hunt for the man whose actions caused devastation throughout the Latrobe Valley during the deadliest bushfire disaster in Australia’s history. It’s a gripping and insightful investigation from one of Australia’s brightest talents.
What motivates a person to start a fire? How does fear of bushfire play out in our national psyche? At Montalto, Hooper discusses disaster and deadly mischief with host Elizabeth McCarthy.
Books and Ideas at Montalto series sound design and music: Jon Tjhia.
Chloe Hooper’s The Tall Man: Death and Life on Palm Island (2008) won the Victorian, New South Wales, West Australian and Queensland Premier’s Literary Awards, as well as the John Button Prize for Political Writing, and a Ned Kelly Award for crime writing. Her latest book is The Arsonist: A Mind on Fire (2018). She is also the author of two novels, A Child’s Book of True Crime and The Engagement.
Elizabeth McCarthy is a Melbourne-based radio producer and presenter who currently produces the Breakfast show at Australia’s biggest independent broadcaster, 3RRRFM. Her book reviews can be heard on Breakfast. From 2013–2017, she anchored Triple R’s flagship books and writing show, Multi-Storied.