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Nonfiction: The Art of Truth – Writerly Perspectives


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There’s a huge public appetite for non-fiction storytelling in all its forms, from literary and political essays to the shelf-filling genre of memoir, and the much-maligned reality TV.

This is a chance for readers and writers alike to hear the perspective of four very different voices, all keynote speakers for the NonfictioNow conference.

Helen Garner is the author of novels that draw on life, and non-fiction with novelistic tendencies. David Shields, author of Reality Hunger: A Manifesto has been described as ‘a benevolent and broad-minded revolutionary’ by the New York Times. Jose Dalisay Jr is a director of the Institute of Creative Writing in the Philippines, and the author of 25 books (both fiction and non-fiction). And Margo Jefferson is a Pulitzer Prize-winning cultural critic and a former staff writer for the New York Times.

This event will be chaired by Michael Cathcart, presenter of ABC Radio National’s Books and Arts Daily.


Margo Jefferson

Margo Jefferson (US) is a Pulitzer prize-winning cultural critic and author of On Michael Jackson. She was a staff writer for the New York Times for 12 years, and has contributed to Bookforum, the Washington Post, New York magazine, Grand Street, The Nation and other publications. ... Read more

José Dalisay Jr.

José Dalisay Jr. has published more than 25 books of fiction and non-fiction, winning many awards for his writing both in the Philippines and overseas. He has been a Fulbright, Hawthornden, British Council, David TK Wong, Rockefeller, and Civitella Ranieri fellow. He is director of the Institute of... Read more

Helen Garner

Helen Garner writes novels, stories, screenplays and works of non-fiction. In 2006 she received the inaugural Melbourne Prize for Literature, and in 2016 she won the prestigious Windham–Campbell Literature Prize for non-fiction and the Western Australian Premier’s Book Award. In 2019 she was hon... Read more

Michael Cathcart

Michael Cathcart presents the radio show, Books and Arts Daily for Radio National. He has a background in Australian history and culture, both in writing and teaching. Michael is passionate about the arts and has worked as a theatre director, dramaturge and script editor. He is a regular participant... Read more

David Shields

David Shields is the author of 12 books, including Reality Hunger: A Manifesto, which was named one of the best books of 2010 by more than 30 publications. His other books include The Thing About Life is That One Day You’ll Be Dead, a New York Times bestseller, Black Planet: Facing Race during an ... Read more


RMIT Storey Hall Auditorium

342 Swanston Street Melbourne Victoria 3000

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