Postcards From Abroad

View all events in this series


Jonathan Franzen: Crossroads

This event will not be viewable from this event page. If you have booked for the event and can't find your unique link please email

‘My despair about the American novel began in the winter of 1991, when I fled to Yaddo, the artists’ colony in upstate New York, to write the last two chapters of my second book […] I began to think the most reasonable thing for a citizen to do might be to enter a monastery and pray for humanity.’

It’s been 25 years since Jonathan Franzen published his landmark essay ‘Why Bother?’ in Harper’s Magazine. It detailed his ‘despair about the American novel’ as it then faced down the looming distractions of the technological age and the out-of-touch, military-obsessed politicians of the 1990s. Sound familiar?

In the years since, Franzen has continued to write and release best-selling, critically-acclaimed novels – including The Corrections, Freedom and Purity – exploring politics, families, and the social dynamics that ensnare our lives.

Franzen’s latest novel, Crossroads, is a sweeping investigation of human mythologies as the Hildebrandt family navigates the political, intellectual, and social crosscurrents of the past 50 years. This epic family saga spans three generations and traces the inner life of our culture through to the present day.

In his first Australian event celebrating the release of this highly-anticipated new work, the singular Jonathan Franzen will discuss family, America, and where the modern novel must go from here with ABC Radio National’s Sarah Kanowski.

The online bookseller for this event is Hill of Content

Presented in partnership with Byron Writers Festival and Newcastle Writers Festival

Add to calendar


Portrait of Jonathan Franzen

Jonathan Franzen

Jonathan Franzen is the author of six novels including CrossroadsFreedom and The Correctionsand five works of nonfiction and translation, including The Kraus Project and Farther Away. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the German Akademie der Kunste and the French Ordre des Arts et des Lettres. He is recognised as one of the best American writers of our age and has won many awards. He lives in New York City and Santa Cruz, California.

Portrait of Sarah Kanowski

Sarah Kanowski

Sarah co-presents Conversations on ABC Radio and podcast. She previously presented Books and Arts on ABC RN and joined the ABC as a producer with Late Night Live.

Postcards From Abroad

When we’ve been apart for so long, there’s a lot to catch up on. We’re reopening the borders of the written word and reigniting global cultural conversation, with a series of longform video postcards, featuring the most exciting names in international literature. 

In these intimate conversations, the world’s boldest creative voices discuss their latest books and projects. Be transported to far-flung places, be exposed to unfamiliar perspectives, and discover new ideas.


More about this venue, including large map, parking, public transport and accessibility.