Books and Ideas at Montalto

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Photo: Rani Chahal

at Montalto

Melanie Cheng

The Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for an Unpublished Manuscript has an impressive track record for unearthing major literary talent. The winner of the 2016 Award, Melanie Cheng, joined an outstanding alumni, including Graeme Simsion (The Rosie Project), Maxine Beneba Clarke (Foreign Soil) and Jane Harper (The Dry).

Cheng’s winning work, Australia Day, is a collection of short stories presenting a rich and detailed mosaic of contemporary Australian life. Exploring themes of home and human connection, the novel poses subtle questions about faultlines in Australian society. Cheng – who was born in Adelaide, grew up in Hong Kong and now lives in Melbourne – writes with sensitivity, humour and bite. Her achievement as an author is remarkable on a number of levels, not least because she balances writing with her career as a doctor.

In conversation with RN Books and Arts producer Georgia Moodie at Montalto, this rising star of the Australian literary world will discuss inspiration, identity and the short-story form.

Please arrive 6.30pm for a 6.55pm start.


Portrait of Melanie Cheng

Melanie Cheng

Melanie Cheng is a writer and general practitioner from Melbourne. She is the author of Australia Day, which won the 2018 Victorian Premier's Literary Award for Fiction, and Room for a Stranger, which was longlisted for the 2020 Miles Franklin Award. Her non-fiction has been published in the Guardian, the Age, The Weekend Australian and SBS Online. She is The Saturday Paper's health columnist.

Portrait of Georgia Moodie

Georgia Moodie

Georgia Moodie is a reporter and producer on Books and Arts, ABC Radio National. 

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.


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

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