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Books and Ideas at Montalto

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Lindsay Tanner

Listen to Lindsay Tanner

‘A political career is not a bad training ground for writing fiction,’ Lindsay Tanner has said. 

Since leaving the chamber in 2010, the former federal politician has devoted much of his time to the printed page – though it’s only recently that fiction has become his focus. His first book, Sideshow, critiqued the Australian media environment, arguing that spin doctors and tightening news cycles were ‘dumbing down democracy’. 

With his debut novel, Comfort Zone, Tanner is again engaging with a hot topic in Australian political discourse, multiculturalism, however he tackles the theme from a markedly different perspective. His story’s protagonist is not a former finance minister, but a pot-bellied cabbie who finds himself drawn into a vortex of drug-dealing and criminal violence.

Tanner is not your average ex-politician and certainly not your average author. Join him for a unique discussion on writing, life after politics … and the job of lying for a living. In conversation with Emily Sexton.

Books and Ideas at Montalto series sound design and music: Jon Tjhia.


Portrait of Lindsay Tanner

Lindsay Tanner

Lindsay Tanner was the minister for finance and deregulation in the Rudd-Gillard governments, and held the seat of Melbourne for the ALP from 1993 to 2010. Having retired from politics at the 2010 federal election, he is now a special adviser to Lazard Australia, and is a vice-chancellor's fellow and adjunct professor at Victoria University. Mr Tanner is the author of several previous books, including Politics with Purpose (2012) and Sideshow (2011), also published by Scribe.

Portrait of Emily Sexton

Emily Sexton

Emily Sexton is a former Head of Programming for the Wheeler Centre for Books, Writing and Ideas.

She was the recipient of a prestigious Sidney Myer Creative Fellowship in 2014. Previously, she was Artistic Director of Next Wave (2010–14), where her key achievements were a radical rethink of an arts festival model, and a series of landmark commissions, publications and talks featuring First Nations artists, co-curated with Tony Albert and Tahjee Moar and titled Blak Wave.

In 2013, she was Artistic Director of the Ian Potter Cultural Trust’s 20th Anniversary Celebrations at the Melbourne Recital Centre. She was also Creative Producer for Melbourne Fringe Festival for 2008–10.

Emily has been a proud Board Member for Arena Theatre Company, Snuff Puppets and Theatre Network Victoria, and is alumnus of the Australia Council’s Emerging Leaders Program (2011). She is a regular peer assessor for the Australia Council for the Arts, Creative Victoria, and other philanthropic trusts and foundations. Emily holds a Bachelor of Arts (Media and Communications, English) from the University of Sydney (2005). She is a regular host and facilitator for writers’ festivals and arts organisations around Australia.

Books and Ideas at Montalto

A series of thoughtful conversations about Australian literature – away from the city, at Montalto on the Mornington Peninsula.