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Books and Ideas at Montalto

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Live-stream: Arnold Zable

This event will be live-streamed on this page. 

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 will discuss a subject that’s woven through all his writing: the dignity and decency of ordinary people. 

Presented in partnership with Montalto. This event was originally scheduled to take place at Montalto. It will now be held online-only due to precautions and restrictions relating to coronavirus.

Books and Ideas at Montalto: Arnold Zable


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 writer, comedian, and broadcaster. He’s been profiled in the New York Times, ABC’s Australian Story, BBC Radio 4, NPR, and appeared on QI with Stephen Fry and The Project

Sami has been performing award-winning and highly acclaimed comedy for over a decade, and used his acerbic wit to address world affairs and social issues, in comedy clubs and even international platforms like TEDx. 

Books and Ideas at Montalto

You, a good book, a glass of wine, delicious food. Together as you were always meant to be. But with a wonderfully rich extra ingredient: a stimulating conversation with your favourite author.

From March to November, the literary meets the culinary at Books and Ideas at Montalto. Set in a stunning Red Hill winery on the Mornington Peninsula, join some of Australia’s most beloved writers for an intimate discussion about their work – served with excellent food and wine, as a languorous lunchtime tips into a relaxed afternoon.


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