From deeply personal explorations of identity to inspiring stories of resilience and survival, discover the writers who have made art from their lives.

Here, we share our favourite sessions for those looking for inspiration from other people's lives.


Adélaïde Bon: The Little Girl on the Ice Floe, 3 May, 1.30pm

The Little Girl on the Ice Floe is Adélaïde Bon’s poised and powerful personal account of the devastating consequences of childhood rape. The Paris-based writer and actor, who recently featured in ABC’s Foreign Correspondent report on #MeToo in France, examines the aftermath of her attack at the age of nine and how, 25 years later, she confronted the stranger who destroyed her life. Adélaïde speaks to ABC’s Annabel Crabb about channeling this devastating experience into a bestselling book.

Dunya Mikhail: The Beekeeper of Sinjar, 3 May, 3pm

The Beekeeper of Sinjar by Iraqi journalist Dunya Mikhail is the deeply moving real-life account of an Iraqi honey trader who used his regional knowledge to help liberate Yazidi women enslaved by ISIS. Dunya weaves together recent tales of near-impossible escapes with her own experience of exile. A former journalist at The Baghdad Observer and winner of the UN Human Rights Award for Freedom of Writing, Dunya talks to SBS’s Janice Petersen to reflect on a remarkable story that offers a hopeful counterpoint to terror and hatred.

Akala: Natives - Race and Class in the Ruins of Empire, 4 May, 11.30am

Award-winning hip-hop artist and writer Akala joins Michael Mohammed Ahmad in conversation about his bestselling debut, Natives: Race and Class in the Ruins of Empire, a searing, modern polemic on race and class in the British Empire. He reflects on growing up poor, mixed-race and politicised in Britain during the 1980s and 90s, widening his experiences into a nuanced historical treatise that demonstrates why The Guardian has lauded his as “the kind of disruptive, aggressive intellect that a new generation is closely watching”.

Bri Lee: Eggshell Skull, 4 May, 3pm

Bri Lee entered a Queensland court as a bright-eyed judge’s associate. Two years later she returned as a sexual assault complainant in her own case. Helen Garner praises Bri’s award-winning account of her journey through the legal system, Eggshell Skull, as “scorching, self-scouring … a young woman finds her steel and learns to wield it”. Discussing her eloquent memoir with Guardian Australia’s Editor Lenore Taylor, Bri reflects on what it means to be a woman in our justice system.

Casey Legler: Godspeed, 4 May, 6pm

Godspeed is the unflinching memoir of athleticism, addiction and survival by the exceptionally talented Casey Legler, a former Olympic swimmer and the first woman to sign a male-modelling contract with Ford Models. Described as “raw and poetic... lean and ferocious” by The New York Times, it charts the mismatch between Casey’s public rise and coming of age under extreme circumstances, and their private unravelling through addiction. Casey shares their compelling story of resilience and defiance with Sally Rugg.

Alexander Chee: How to Write an Autobiographical Novel, 5 May, 1.30pm

Reckoning with his identity as a Korean–American, gay man, activist and artist, Alexander Chee examines everything from his father’s death to the AIDS crisis to moonlighting as a Tarot reader in his non-fiction essay collection, How to Write an Autobiographical Novel. Join the author described as "masterful" by Roxane Gay and "incendiary" by The New York Times as he discusses his commanding, heartbreaking and wry work with Ronnie Scott.