This event was cancelled.


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at Abbotsford Convent

Tony Birch at Abbotsford Convent

For Tony Birch, the Yarra River is a rich vein of memories and inspiration, and is especially central in his acclaimed novel, Ghost River. Join him at historical Abbotsford Convent – which sits on a bend in the Yarra – for reflections on the river, his childhood and his writing.


Portrait of Tony Birch

Tony Birch

Tony Birch is a founding member of the Melbourne School of Discontent. He has published three novels; The White GirlGhost River and Blood. He is also the author of Shadowboxing and three short story collections, Father’s DayThe Promise and Common People. In 2017 he was awarded the Patrick White Literary Award for his contribution to Australian literature. In 2021 he released two new books, a poetry book, Whisper Songs and a new short story collection, Dark As Last Night.

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We shape our buildings; thereafter they shape us,’ Winston Churchill once said. In this special collaboration with Open House Melbourne, we’ll host intimate conversations with Melbourne writers in the local buildings and places that have shaped their work.

Hear from Chris Womersley in the Fitzroy apartment building that inspired his award-winning novel, Cairo, or Tony Birch at the Abbotsford Convent, discussing the origins of Ghost River. Robyn Annear will appear at tucked-away Presgrave Place arcade, famous for its connection to Cole’s Book Arcade and featured in Annear’s books City Lost & Found and Bearbrass. Keep an eye on our website for details about a rare opportunity to step inside a rarely seen corner of one of Melbourne’s most iconic buildings, currently closed to the public for repair.

Each afternoon will include a talk, tour and treat, with afternoon tea included with your booking. Savour the unique atmosphere of some of Melbourne’s most beautiful and idiosyncratic buildings while listening to readings from your favourite books.


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