Support MWF artists. Discover your next great read — browse the Festival Bookstore or visit readings.com.au
A Bigger Picture
Exceptionally candid and compelling, the definitive narrative of Malcolm Turnbull’s prime ministership is a genuine page-turner that’s not just for political junkies.
This electrifying novel follows three characters who seek to rise – to the middle class, to political power, to fame – and find their lives entangled in the wake of a catastrophe in contemporary India.
A Lonely Girl is a Dangerous Thing
A dazzling debut that explores female desire, the awkwardness and pain of being human in an increasingly dislocated world – and how, in spite of all this, we still try to become the person we want to be.
A Room Made of Leaves
What if Elizabeth Macarthur – wife of the notorious John Macarthur, wool baron in the earliest days of Sydney – had written a shockingly frank secret memoir? This is historical fiction turned inside out.
A Superior Spectre
Jeff is dying. Haunted by memories and grappling with the shame of his desires, he runs away to remote Scotland with a piece of experimental tech that allows him to enter the mind of someone in the past.
From the Booker Prize–winning author, a brilliant and moving novel about fame, sexual power, and a daughter’s search to understand her mother’s hidden truths. Longlisted for the Women's Prize 2020.
A story about sexuality, the ache of friendship and love, and sticky summers at the pool, this exhilarating novel captures the heartbeat of one transformative summer where alliances are made and broken.
Edited by Michael Mohammed Ahmad
In this unflinching new anthology, twelve of Australia’s most daring Indigenous writers and writers of colour provide a glimpse of Australia as we head toward the year 2050.
The Animals in That Country
Laura Jean McKay
As disturbing news arrives of a pandemic sweeping the country, Jean realises this is no ordinary flu: its chief symptom is that its victims begin to understand the language of animals – first mammals, then birds and insects, too.
Taukiri was born into sorrow. Auē can be heard in the sound of the sea he loves and hates, and in the music he draws out of the guitar that was his father’s. This is a sublime novel by a compelling new voice in New Zealand fiction.
An intimate and poetic coming-of-age tale about friendship, unfamiliar cities and desire. For Rooney readers who are looking for something tender and heartfelt, this book is for you.
Tegan Bennett Daylight
Tegan Bennett Daylight has led a life in books – as a writer, a teacher and a critic, but first and foremost as a reader. A deeply insightful work about the connections we form with literature and each other.
The End of October
In this riveting medical thriller–from the Pulitzer Prize winner and best-selling author–Dr. Henry Parsons, an unlikely but appealing hero, races to find the origins and cure of a mysterious new killer virus as it brings the world to its knees.
Finding the Heart of the Nation
Since the Uluru Statement from the Heart was formed in 2017, Thomas Mayor travelled around the country to promote its vision of a better future for Indigenous Australians – tapping into a deep sense of our shared humanity.
A powerful account from an Indigenous land management expert on how the revival of cultural burning practices, and improved 'reading' of country, could help to restore our land.
Curated by Allison Whittaker
A groundbreaking anthology of First Nations poetry showcasing bright new stars and leading Aboriginal writers and poets including Bruce Pascoe, Ali Cobby Eckermann and Tony Birch.
The Fire Starters
From a rising star in Irish fiction comes this brilliant, dark, propulsive literary novel about fierce familial love and sacrifice. Winner of the EU Prize for Literature 2019.
A story of a young Indigenous girl's disappearance in a small Queensland town, this novel is a launchpad to exploring questions of colonisation, intergenerational trauma and injustice.
The Ghost Species
Set against the backdrop of hastening climate catastrophe, Ghost Species is an exquisitely beautiful and affecting exploration of connection and loss in an age of planetary trauma.
Glimpses of Utopia
Humans everywhere are rising up to confront our challenges with creativity, resilience and compassion. Harnessing technology and imagination, we can reshape our world to be fair and sustainable. This book shows us how.
A shining, intricate novel from one of Canada’s most acclaimed novelists, Greenwood is a rain-soaked and sun-dappled story of the bonds and breaking points of money and love, wood, and blood – and the hopeful, impossible task of growing toward the light.
Mainstream feminists rarely talk about meeting basic needs as a feminist issue, but food insecurity, access to quality education, safe neighbourhoods, a living wage, and medical care are all feminist issues.
How to Do Nothing
In a world where addictive technology is designed to buy and sell our attention, and our value is determined by our 24/7 data productivity, Jenny Odell shows us how we can still win back our lives.
How to Talk About Climate Change
Why is it so hard to talk about climate change? A toolkit for understanding our emotional responses to climate change and how we can have meaningful conversations across dividing lines.
How We Disappeared
Singapore, 1942. As Japanese troops sweep down Malaysia and into Singapore, a village is ransacked. Only three survivors remain, one of them a tiny child. This profoundly moving novel heralds the arrival of a new literary star.
When Katerina Bryant suddenly began experiencing chronic seizures, she was plunged into a foreign world of doctors and psychiatrists, who understood her condition as little as she did. Blending memoir with literary and historical analysis, Bryant explores women’s medical treatment.
Into the Suburbs
After Christopher Raja and his family moved to Australia in pursuit of the idyllic lifestyle, they appeared to be to living a 'normal' Australian life. Exploring topical issues of race, class and migration, Into the Suburbs is an affecting portrait of one family’s search for home.
In the Time of Foxes
A film director in Hackney with a fox problem in her garden; a Sydney café-owner rekindling an old flame; a journalist on Mars, face-to-face with his fate. Deeply insightful about the times in which we live, each narrative is a compressed novel.
When Mina receives an urgent call from her best friend back in Melbourne, her world is turned upside down. Her reclusive mother has left the house for the first time in twelve years. A story about how secrets and love bring us together and tear us apart.
The Last Migration
How far you would you go for love? Franny Stone is determined to go to the end of the earth, following the last of the Arctic terns on what may be their final migration to Antarctica.
The Lost Soul Atlas
Loyalty is tested, and a cruel twist of fate leads to an act of ultimate betrayal in this epic story that spans a city, a decade, and the divide between life and death itself.
The (mostly) true story of how the skull of a Tyrannosaurus bataar, a pterodactyl, a prehistoric penguin, the severed hand of an Egyptian mummy and the 13,000-year-old extinct narrator came to be on sale at a 2007 natural history auction in Manhattan.
Metal Fish, Falling Snow
Dylan and her adored French mother dream of one day sailing across the ocean to France. Paris, Dylan imagines, is a place where her black skin won’t make her stand out, a place where she might feel she belongs.
Caitlin is convinced she’s going to die. Two years ago she was a normal twenty-something with a blossoming career and a plan to go travelling with her best friend, until a fatal car accident left her with a deep, unshakeable understanding that she’s only alive by mistake.
My Tidda, My Sister
A celebration of the Indigenous female experience through truth-telling. Some stories are heart-warming, while others shine a light on the terrible realities for many Indigenous women. But what they all share is the ability to inspire, creating a sisterhood for all Australian women.
New Australian Fiction 2020
Kill Your Darlings
These stories – which come from writers all around Australia – explore how characters respond to some of the most intriguing and urgent issues of our time, including nuclear fallout, genetic experimentation and ongoing and destructive white-settler colonialism.
None Shall Sleep
Interviewing convicted juvenile killers for the FBI leads Emma Lewis and Travis Bell on the hunt for a serial murderer who targets teenagers. Can Emma and Travis stop a killer in their tracks, or will they fall victim themselves? A riveting YA thriller that will keep you on the edge of your seat.
The Octopus and I
Lucy and Jem live on the Tasman Peninsula near Eaglehawk Neck, where Lucy is recovering from major surgery. As she tries to navigate her new body through the world, she develops a deep fascination with the local octopuses.
Olive, Again follows the blunt, contradictory yet deeply loveable Olive Kitteridge as she grows older, navigating the second half of her life as she comes to terms with the changes in her own existence and in those around her.
Olive Kitteridge might be described by some as a battle axe or as brilliantly pushy, by others as the kindest person they had ever met. Olive herself has always been certain that she is 100% correct about everything – lately, her certitude has been shaken.
On Robyn Davidson
Robyn Davidson, author of the classic memoir Tracks, has led a remarkable life of writing and nomadic travel. This bracing, erudite essay explores Davidson’s relationship with place and freedom, and her singular presence in Australian letters.
A story about three generations of family living in Kalgoorlie, where gold was discovered in 1893 by an Irish-born prospector named Paddy Hannan, whose own history weaves in and out of this fascinating novel.
The Rain Heron
Ren lives alone on the remote frontier of a country devastated by a coup. High on the forested slopes, she survives by hunting and trading – and forgetting. But when a young soldier comes to the mountains in search of a local myth, Ren is inexorably drawn into her impossible mission.
Red, White & Royal Blue
What happens when America's First Son falls in love with the Prince of Wales? Described as a ‘much-loved queer rom-com’, Casey McQuiston's Red, White & Royal Blue proves that true love isn't always diplomatic.
Patrick Radden Keefe
This gripping examination of the Troubles in Northern Ireland won the 2019 Orwell Prize for Political Writing, exploring the extremes people will go to for an ideal, and the way societies mend – or don’t – after long and bloody conflict.
See What You Made Me Do
Combining forensic research with riveting storytelling, this book radically rethinks how to confront the national crisis of fear and abuse in our homes. Winner of the Stella Prize 2020.
Sex and Vanity
The iconic author of the bestselling phenomenon Crazy Rich Asians returns with this glittering tale of a young woman who finds herself torn between two men.
Smart Ovens for Lonely People
Conspiracies, celebrities, and therapies underpin this beguiling and inventive short-story collection – including a tale of a cat-shaped oven that tells a depressed woman she doesn't have to be sorry anymore.
Stone Sky Gold Mountain
Set during the gold-rush era in Australia, this remarkable novel is full of unforgettable characters and deals with timeless questions of identity and belonging.
The Safe Place
For struggling actress Emily Proudman, life in London is not working out as planned – in fact, it’s falling apart. So when she is offered a live-in job working for a wealthy family on their luxurious coastal property in France, she jumps at the opportunity to start over.
The Storm Before the Calm
The master geopolitical forecaster and bestselling author of The Next 100 Years focuses on the United States, predicting how the 2020s will bring dramatic upheaval and reshaping of American government, foreign policy, economics, and culture in thrilling detail.
The Vanishing Half
Weaving together multiple strands and generations of one family, from the Deep South to California, from the 1950s to the 1990s, Bennett produces a brilliant exploration of the American history of passing.
Four older women have a lifelong friendship of the best kind: loving, practical, frank and steadfast. But when Sylvie dies, the ground shifts dangerously for the remaining three. Can they survive together without her?
The Wild Laughter
A sharp snapshot of a family and a nation suddenly unmoored, this epic-in-miniature explores cowardice and sacrifice, faith rewarded and abandoned, the stories we tell ourselves and the ones we resist.
There Was Still Love
A love letter to the strong women who bind families together, despite dislocation and distance. It is a tender and beautifully told story of memory, family and love. Shortlisted for the Stella Prize 2020.
Ellen van Neerven
Exploring love, language and land, this explosive poetry collection from the award-winning Mununjali Yugambeh writer shines a light on Australia’s unreconciled past and precarious present with humour and heart.
Tired of Winning
Polarised, unequal, enraged and spiritually bereft, the American experiment, under Donald Trump, looks to be on the brink of failure. This award-winning series of dispatches and essays explores US society before, during and after one of the most high-stakes midterm elections in history.
Top End Girl
A deadly memoir about being bold, Black and brave in work, life and love. Miranda Tapsell shares the path she took to acting and how her roles in The Sapphires and Love Child inspired her to create a film about coming back to family and culture.
We Can't Say We Didn't Know
For more than 15 years, award-winning journalist Sophie McNeill has reported on some of the most war-ravaged and oppressive places on earth, including Syria, Gaza, Yemen, West Bank and Iraq. This book tells the human stories of devastation and hope behind the headlines.
Renewable energy can become a key player in the effort to upgrade our species from one on a path to self-destruction to a path of sustainability and fairness. With the knowledge of how the last decade was lost, the next decade can work the way it’s meant to.
Women and Leadership
Julia Gillard & Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala
An inspirational and practical book written by two high-achieving women, sharing the experience and advice of some of our most extraordinary women leaders, in their own words. Featuring Jacinda Ardern, Hillary Clinton, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Theresa May and more.
Your Own Kind of Girl
‘This is the story I promised myself, aged twenty-one, that I would one day be brave enough – and well enough – to write.’ ARIA Award–winning singer and actress Clare Bowditch confronts her inner critic in this no-holds-barred memoir.