Books and Ideas at Montalto
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A writer of novels, short fiction and essays, Mireille Juchau has quietly emerged as one of Australia’s most accomplished literary voices. Her first two novels, Machines for Feeling and Burning In, won critical acclaim and appearances on the Vogel’s and Prime Minister’s Literary Awards shortlists. Her third novel, The World Without Us, is very much the book of the moment – winning this year’s prestigious Victorian Premier’s Literary Award and shortlisted for the Stella Prize.
Juchau’s work deals with big personal and political subjects – from grief and abandonment to climate change. The World Without Us centres on a family who has lost a child, and a community adrift after a calamitous fire; it’s the kind of territory that can veer lesser writers into melodrama. But reviews of Juchau’s work, both in Australia and internationally, have stressed the subtlety and restraint of her prose as well as its vivid imagery. The Times Literary Supplement called The World Without Us ‘elegantly poised and controlled’. Independent on Sunday called it ‘understated and calm, and yet thoroughly captivating’.
In conversation with Michael Williams, Juchau discusses writing the intimate, the political and The World Without Us.
Books and Ideas at Montalto series sound design and music: Jon Tjhia.
Mireille Juchau's third novel, The World Without Us, is published by Bloomsbury in Australia, UK and the US.
It won The Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for Fiction in 2016 and is long-listed for the International Dublin Literary Award 2017. It was shortlisted for the the Stella Prize 2016, the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards 2016, the Voss Literary Award, and long-listed for the Miles Franklin Literary Award 2016. Mireille is also known for her short fiction, essays and reviews. She has lived in Fiji, England, New Zealand and Sydney and worked as a journalist, editor and lecturer.
Michael Williams is the Director of the Wheeler Centre for Books, Writing and Ideas in Melbourne. He has worked at the Wheeler Centre since inception in 2009, when he was hired as the Head of Programming before being appointed as Director in September 2011.
He has hosted Blueprint for Living (2015–2016), then Talkfest (2017–2019), on ABC RN. He remains a regular guest on ABC Radio and TV. Michael has also worked as a Breakfast presenter for Melbourne’s 3RRR, as a member of the Australia Council’s Literature Board, in publishing and has written extensively for the Guardian, the Age, Sydney Morning Herald, Australian and elsewhere.