Robert Dessaix in Conversation

Robert Dessaix's first interview about his new book, The Time of Our Lives.

Event Information

WHEN / Wed 7 Oct, 6.30–7.30pm AEDT
PLATFORM / Livestream via Zoom
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‘I thought to myself…without death there is no meaning. Without time nothing is of any consequence. Time allows hope. Time makes us feel intensely alive.’

Master of wit and profundity Robert Dessaix is fixated on unravelling life’s big questions—from what we do in our spare time to how we continue to live in an increasingly difficult world.

In his peripatetic tenth book The Time of Our LivesDessaix delves into the intricacies of growing older well—simultaneously grappling with travel, identity, and an inescapable sense of mortality. In his first interview discussing The Time of Our Lives, Dessaix sits down with Andrea Goldsmith to reflect on feeling richer than he ever has before and the many possibilities of old age.

In partnership with Readings


Robert Dessaix is best-known as a writer of literary non-fiction (memoirs, essays and autobiography), but has also published two novels, several short stories and one play.

From 1985 to 1995, after teaching Russian language and literature for many years at the ANU and the University of NSW, he presented the weekly Books and Writing program on ABC Radio National. His most widely read books, all translated into several European languages, are his autobiography A Mother’s Disgrace, the novels Night Letters and Corfu, and two collections of essays and short stories: (and so forth) and As I Was Saying. His travel memoirs Twilight of Love grew out of a fascination with Russian literature, while Arabesques explores the life of the French writer André Gide. His latest books are the memoir—meditations on love, friendship and mortality—What Days Are For, set in a hospital ward after a heart attack, The Pleasures of Leisure and now The Time of Our Lives on growing older well.

He has also published translations of works by Dostoyevsky, Turgenev and a number of Russian poets. His translations of plays by Anton Chekhov have been produced in theatres around Australia.

A full-time writer since 1995, Robert Dessaix lives in Hobart, Tasmania.

Image: Matthew Venables
Order your copy of The Time of Our Lives online at readings.com.au