The latest novels of celebrated writers Sophie Cunningham and Gail Jones explore the lives of extraordinary artistic figures at turning points in history. Sophie’s This Devastating Fever interweaves the lives of Leonard and Virginia Woolf and the Bloomsbury Set with modern-day climate change disasters. Gail’s acclaimed Salonika Burning imagines how the stories of famous figures who served in the first world war, including author Miles Franklin and painters Grace Pailthorpe and Stanley Spencer, may have overlapped. They speak with Ashley Hay about their blending of history and fiction.

This event is Auslan interpreted.

Sophie Cunningham (Australian)

Sophie Cunningham

Sophie Cunningham is the author of nine books, including the novel This Devastating Fever and the essay collection City of Trees. She is also a teacher, mentor, climate change activist and every day she posts an image of a tree on her Instagram @sophtreeofday. A Member of the Order of Australia for her contributions to literature, Sophie is the Chair of the Australian Society of Authors and an executive director of the Copyright Agency.

Gail Jones (Australian)

Gail Jones

Gail Jones is one of Australia’s most celebrated writers. She is the author of two short-story collections and nine novels, and her work has been translated into several languages. She has received numerous literary awards, including the Prime Minister’s Literary Award, the Age Book of the Year, the South Australian Premier’s Award, the ALS Gold Medal and the Kibble Award, and has been shortlisted for the Miles Franklin Literary Award, the International Dublin Literary Award and the Prix Femina Étranger. Originally from Western Australia, she now lives in Sydney. Her most recent book is Salonika Burning.

Ashley Hay (Australian)

Ashley Hay

Ashley Hay is an award-winning novelist, essayist and former editor of the Griffith Review. Her novels include The Railwayman's Wife and A Hundred Small Lessons. A new edition of her non-fiction narrative, Gum: The Story of Eucalypts and Their Champions, was published in 2021.