On the morning of 29 April 1986, someone set fire to the Los Angeles Public Library, ultimately destroying or damaging more than half a million books. In re-examining the unsolved mystery of one of the most catastrophic library fires in history, Susan Orlean’s The Library Book delivers a dazzling love letter to a beloved institution. The author of The Orchid Thief (which was turned into the film Adaptation, in which Susan was played by Meryl Streep) sits down with Jennifer Byrne to discuss her thrilling saga.

Supported by the City of Sydney.

This event is Auslan-interpreted. 


Find out more about Susan Orlean:

Susan Orlean (International)

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. In The Library Book she reopens the unsolved mystery of the most catastrophic library fire in American history, and delivers a dazzling love letter to a beloved institution—our libraries. In a starred review, Booklist called it: “Mesmerizing . . . A riveting mix of true crime, history, biography, and immersion journalism. . . . Probing, prismatic, witty, dramatic, and deeply appreciative, Orlean’s chronicle celebrates libraries as sanctuaries, community centers, and open universities run by people of commitment, compassion, creativity, and resilience.” Orlean has been a staff writer at The New Yorker since 1992.

Jennifer Byrne (Australian)

Jennifer Byrne

Jennifer Byrne has emerged from 11 years as host of The Book Club on ABC TV with her love for books intact, and an ongoing curiosity about and admiration for writers. Trained in print at The Age in Melbourne, Jennifer has spent much of her career in broadcast media including radio host, pioneer reporter at Channel Nine's Sunday and twice working as a foreign correspondent, first with 60 Minutes and later the ABC.