Books and Ideas at Montalto

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at Montalto

Sophie Cunningham

The Mornington Peninsula is home to nearly 700 species of indigenous plants, including dozens of native trees. From mangroves to rainforests, these trees form just one part of an ecosystem of flora and fauna, as busy and thriving as any city. 

Trees take the starring role in Sophie Cunningham’s latest book, City of Trees: Essays on Life, Death and the Need for a Forest. From intimate personal reflections on death and grief to international contemplations about the eucalyptus as an invasive species, this poignant essay collection considers our relationships to trees, and how and why we love them. What does it mean to admire the beauty of nature in the face of climate catastrophe?

Cunningham is the author of five books, all of which look towards the built and natural worlds we live in, from Melbourne to Warning: The Story of Cyclone Tracy. This November at Montalto – on a property filled with olive trees and eucalypts – join Cunningham and series host Elizabeth McCarthy for a conversation about trees: how we live with them, and what they tell us about life.

Presented in partnership with Montalto.

Antipodes Bookshop and Gallery will be our bookseller at this event.


Portrait of Sophie Cunningham

Sophie Cunningham

Sophie Cunningham is the author of five books, the most recent of which is City of Trees: Essays on Life, Death & the Need for a Forest. She is a former publisher, former editor of Meanjin, former Chair of the Literature Board of the Australia Council and was a co-founder of The Stella Prize. She is an Adjunct Professor with RMIT's Non/fiction lab.

Portrait of Elizabeth McCarthy

Elizabeth McCarthy

 Elizabeth McCarthy has worked as a producer and presenter in radio for 20 years. She produces the breakfast show at Australia’s biggest independent broadcaster, 3RRR, and reviews books on 3RRR and ABC Radio Melbourne. In 2019 she was the convenor of the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for Fiction, and from 2013–2017 she anchored Triple R’s flagship books and writing show, Multi-Storied.

She regularly interviews writers at live events and public conversations for the Wheeler Centre, Sydney Writers’ Festival, Melbourne Writers Festival, and more. She has previously worked as a music reviewer, and from 2002 – 2006 she was the drummer and co-lyricist for Melbourne swamp-rock grrrl band, The Muddy Spurs.

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.