It has been said that we’re in the grip of an anxiety epidemic. Pundits point to all manner of causes – inequality, social media, the gig economy, populist politics – but what are the true origins of this angst and what can be done to allay our malaise? Join three writers who have each considered the topic of anxiety through their work, as they share their experiences and insights in conversation with Sophie Cunningham. Featuring memoirist Marina Benjamin (Insomnia), political writer William Davies (Nervous States) and author Olivia Sudjic (Exposure and Sympathy).

Supported by UNSW Arts & Social Sciences.

William Davies (International)

William Davies

William Davies is a political economist and sociologist, whose work addresses the political and economic upheavals of our times. Drawing on economics, history, psychology and philosophy, his writing seeks to understand the roots of our present instability. He is a regular contributor to London Review of Books and The Guardian, and author of Nervous States: How feeling took over the world and The Happiness Industry: How the Government & big business sold us wellbeing.

Marina Benjamin (International)

Marina Benjamin

Marina Benjamin is a writer, editor and author of The Middlepause, Rocket Dreams (shortlisted for the Eugene Emme Award), Last Days in Babylon (longlisted for the Wingate Prize) and Living at the End of the World. As a journalist, she's written for most of the British broadsheets and served as Arts Editor at the New Statesman and Deputy Arts Editor at the Evening Standard. She is currently a senior editor at the digital magazine Aeon. Her most recent book Insomnia has been praised widely.

Olivia Sudjic (International)

Olivia Sudjic

Olivia Sudjic is a writer living in London. Her work has appeared in publications including The New York Times, Paris Review, Financial Times, The Sunday Times, Guardian, Vogue and Wired. She is the author of Sympathy, her 2017 debut novel which was a finalist for the Salerno European Book Award, the Collyer Bristow Prize and has been translated into five languages, and Exposure, a personal essay exploring the anxiety epidemic, internet feminism and autofiction, named an Irish Times and Evening Standard Book of the Year in 2018.

Sophie Cunningham (Australian)

Sophie Cunningham

Sophie Cunningham is the author of five books, the latest of which is City of Trees. She is a former editor of Meanjin, former Chair of the Literature Board of the Australia Council, and a co-founder of The Stella Prize, an Australian prize for women writers. She is currently completing her third novel, This Devastating Fever. She is an Adjunct Professor at RMIT University in the School of Media and Communication in the College of Design and Social Context.