Booker Prize-winning novelist Richard Flanagan joins Jennifer Byrne for a fascinating discussion about his highly anticipated new novel The Living Sea of Waking Dreams. 

An ember storm of a novel, The Living Sea of Waking Dreams is Flanagan at his best.

In a world of perennial fire and growing extinctions, Anna’s aged mother is dying – if her three children would just allow it. Condemned by their pity to living she increasingly escapes through her hospital window into visions of horror and delight. When Anna’s finger vanishes and a few months later her knee disappears, Anna too feels the pull of the window. She begins to see that all around her others are similarly vanishing, but no-one else notices. All Anna can do is keep her mother alive. But the window keeps opening wider, taking Anna and the reader ever deeper into a strangely beautiful story about hope and love and orange-bellied parrots.

Don’t miss one of Australia's greatest and most beloved writers as he reflects on his exquisite, haunting new novel.

Viewing the event

This conversation will be broadcast at 7pm AEST, 29 September 2020, and available on-demand until 9pm AEST, 13 October 2020. Viewing instructions for the event will be sent directly to purchasers within 24 hours of the commencement of the broadcast period.

Book and ticket package 

We have partnered with Gleebooks to offer a discounted book and ticket package. You can purchase a signed copy of The Living Sea of Waking Dreams for $27.99 (RRP $32.99) plus $7.00 postage with both the concession and adult ticket. 


Richard Flanagan: The Living Sea of Waking Dreams is a co-production between Sydney Writers’ Festival and Fane Productions

Richard Flanagan (Australian)

Richard Flanagan

Richard Flanagan's novels have received numerous honours and are published in 42 countries. He won the Booker Prize for The Narrow Road to the Deep North and the Commonwealth Prize for Gould’s Book of Fish. A rapid on the Franklin River is named after him.

Jennifer Byrne (Australian )

Jennifer Byrne

Jennifer Byrne is a senior journalist and broadcaster who has worked in all arms of the media: print, radio and television. Having done her cadetship at The Age and worked on UK’s Fleet Street, she was a founding reporter with Channel Nine’s Sunday programme and spent some 12 years travelling the world for 60 Minutes and as anchor for Foreign Correspondent. She was publishing director of Reed Books, morning presenter on ABC radio, won national awards as interviewer and columnist for The Bulletin and, in May 2006, returned to TV to create the country’s first televised Book Club, which ran on the ABC for 11 years until last December.