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Emily Bitto and Ceridwen Dovey


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Ceridwen Dovey’s beautifully crafted, cerebral collection Only the Animals channels the voices of ten animals, who each tell us about their lives and deaths, as impacted by human action and conflict. In The Australian, Stephen Romei called her ‘a singular talent’; the Sydney Morning Herald lauded it as ‘an audacious work of the imagination’. And Michelle de Kretser called it ‘enthralling and sorrowful … wholly extraordinary’.

Emily Bitto’s rave-reviewed debut novel, The Strays, was inspired by Australia’s bohemian art world of the 1930s, and explores art and its portrayal, gender and stereotype, and the artist and the family. She takes inspiration from the Heide circle, but has created her own intricate universe. Tony Birch calls it ‘a perfectly crafted novel’ and Bitto ‘a writer to remember and watch for’.

Hosted by Michael Williams.

Now Read This

We’ve all heard of Tim Winton – and now, Hannah Kent. But who are the next crop of top-tier Australian writers? The writers who critics laud, serious readers love – and, most importantly, who we believe should be read by anyone who wants to keep up with the best of new Australian writing.

These are the writers whose books will be on the next national literary prize shortlists; the ones other writers love, and whose words will grab you and not let you go.

In Now Read This, we’ll introduce you to the Australian writers who are making a big splash right now, in an event that pairs two terrific writers with a host, and puts them on stage together to talk about their work.


Emily Bitto

Emily Bitto is a Melbourne-based writer of fiction, poetry and non-fiction. She has a Masters in Literary Studies and a PhD in Creative Writing from the University of Melbourne. Her debut novel, The Strays, was the winner of the 2015 Stella Prize. Emily’s fiction, poetry and non-fiction has a... Read more

Michael Williams

Michael Williams joined Sydney Writers’ Festival in September 2020, as the Artistic Director navigating the post-pandemic landscape going into the 2021 festival. He has spent the past decade at the Wheeler Centre for Books, Writing and Ideas in Melbourne; as its founding Head of Programming in 200... Read more

Ceridwen Dovey

Ceridwen Dovey’s debut novel, Blood Kin, was published in 15 countries, shortlisted for the Dylan Thomas Award, and selected for the US National Book Foundation’s prestigious ‘5 Under 35’ honours list. The Wall Street Journal has named her as one of their ‘artists to watch.’ Her latest b... Read more


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