Skip to content

John Safran: Murder in Mississippi


John Safran: documentary-maker, broadcaster, professional prankster. He’s been accosted by Ray Martin, arrested for driving a remote control seagull onto a cricket pitch, and exorcised on camera.

Safran specialises in surprising audiences – as he spectacularly proved at our expectation-exploding Sunday Sermon earlier this year. But his career is less about shock value than following the path of his relentless curiosity – and the unexpected insights it offers up, about his subjects, but also himself. In his first transition from the screen to the page, Murder in Mississippi, Safran delves deep into contemporary racism in the American South, through the lens of a bizarre court case lousy with contradictions.

Safran played a prank on white supremacist Richard Barrett for his TV documentary Race Relations. When he heard Barrett had been murdered by a black man, he was shocked but not surprised. But then he discovered Barrett had owed his murderer money – and propositioned him. And so he went to Mississippi to uncover the truth and cover the trial – talking to cops, racists, neighbours, lawyers, families … and even the murderer.

This will be a multimedia event, with video, audio and souvenirs from his trip. And in true Safran fashion, John will question everything – from the facts and significance of the case, to his role as a writer, and his interest in it all.

Presented by the Wheeler Centre and Token Events.



John Safran

John Safran is a writer and filmmaker who always gets in too deep for his own good. His debut book, Murder in Mississippi, won the Ned Kelly Award for best true crime. His follow up, Depends What You Mean by Extremist, found him lost among radicals and was shortlisted for the Australian Book Industr... Read more


Athenaeum Theatre

188 Collins Street Melbourne Victoria 3000

More details

Stay up to date with our upcoming events and special announcements by subscribing to the Wheeler Centre's mailing list.

View our privacy policy
Acknowledgment of Country

The Wheeler Centre acknowledges the Traditional Owners of the land on which we live and work. We pay our respects to the people of the Kulin Nation and all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elders past and present.