Series

Mayhem

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Susan Orlean: Stranger Than Non-fiction

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

Sarah Krasnostein was born in America, studied in Melbourne and has lived and worked in both countries. She is a law lecturer and researcher with a doctorate in criminal law. Her first book, The Trauma Cleaner, won the Victorian Prize for Literature and the Prize for Non-Fiction in the Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards 2018. Sarah lives in Melbourne and spends part of the year working in New York City.

How much?

$25 adults and $20 concession, plus 50c booking fee. Book your tickets

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 and Byron Writers Festival

Where?

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