Skip to content

Jonathan Franzen: Crossroads


Event Status

This event is available on demand until 5.00pm AEDT Friday 29 October 2021

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


Jonathan Franzen

Jonathan Franzen is the author of six novels including Crossroads, Freedom and The Corrections, and 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 Frenc... Read more

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. Sarah won a Commonwealth Scholarship to study English at the University of Oxford, where she wrote a thesis on the Mosley family. Sh... Read more


More details

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

Privacy Policy

The Wheeler Centre acknowledges the Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung people of the Kulin Nation as the Traditional Owners of the land on which the Centre stands. We acknowledge and pay our respects to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and their Elders, past and present, as the custodians of the world’s oldest continuous living culture.