Series

Mayhem

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at Athenaeum 2 Upstairs

Susan Orlean: Stranger Than Non-fiction

This event will now take place at Athenaeum 2 Upstairs.

Susan Orlean writes, writes, writes. For readers of the New Yorker, she’s a must-read – a staff writer since 1992, now part of the furniture. She’s scattered a trail of bylines through Rolling Stone, the Village Voice, Boston Globe, Esquire, Vogue and more. The Spike Jonze film Adaptation was based on her bestselling book The Orchid Thief; Meryl Streep was nominated for an Oscar for her portrayal of the author.

At least part of Orlean’s charm lies in her genuinely omnivorous curiosity. ‘I’m perfectly happy knowing nothing about the subject,’ she explained in a Washington Post interview. ‘In fact, that’s usually much more appealing to me.’ Her features – and books – have covered umbrella inventors, orchid poachers, Twitter phenomenon @Horse_ebooks, backyard chickens. A ten-year-old boy. A German Shepherd that became a movie star. An obscure rock band called The Shaggs. Most recently, in The Library Book, she has written about the unsolved 1986 fire that engulfed the Los Angeles Public Library.

Over decades, she has taken readers into places their minds have never wandered – sometimes, to places right in front of them. For our Mayhem series, this giant of American non-fiction will look back on her legendary career, and its eclectic subjects, in conversation with Sarah Krasnostein.

Readings will be our bookseller for this event.

Who?

Portrait of Susan Orlean

Susan Orlean

Hailed a 'national treasure' by the Washington Post, Susan Orlean is the acclaimed, bestselling author of Rin Tin Tin and The Orchid Thief, which was made into the Academy Award-winning film Adaptation

Portrait of Sarah Krasnostein

Sarah Krasnostein

‘The opposite of trauma is not the absence of trauma.The opposite of trauma is order, proportion. It is everything in its place.’

Sarah Krasnostein is a writer and a lawyer with a doctorate in criminal law. She is the bestselling, multi-award winning author of The Trauma Cleaner, which won the Victorian Prize for Literature in 2018. Her most recent work can be found in the Monthly and the Saturday Paper. She has written for a variety of publications in Australia, America and the UK, as well as various academic journals.

Mayhem

An alchemy of writers. An explosion of ideas.

Do you like your military history with a side of hip-hop? How about fabulist fiction beside trailblazing journalism? This May, take your brain out for a spin. You’ll meet Pulitzer-winners, YA stars, eminent historians, poets, rappers and some of the world’s best living novelists.

Event partners

Logos of partner organisations: Sydney Writers Festival, Auckland Writers Festival, State Library Victoria, State Library of Queensland, Byron Writers Festival and 3RRR

Where?

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