Jessica Anderson

State Library of NSW, Saturday 19 August 2.30–4.00pm

Bookings essential

In its annual Honouring Australian Writers series, the NSW Writers’ Centre pays tribute to writers who have made an important contribution to our literary culture.

This year we honour Jessica Anderson (1916 – 2010), the author of two Miles Franklin Award-winning novels, Tirra Lirra by the River and The Impersonators, which also won the Christina Stead Prize for Fiction. Her body of work includes seven published novels, an award-winning short story collection, and numerous radio plays.

Authors Anna Funder (Stasiland) and Michelle de Kretser (Questions of Travel) will discuss the enduring power of Anderson’s work with publisher and literary critic Geordie Williamson. They will be joined by Jessica Anderson’s daughter, screenwriter Laura Jones, and by Pip Smith (Half Wild) who will read an excerpt of Anderson’s work.


Michelle de Kretser was born in Sri Lanka and lives in Australia. Her fiction is published across the world and has won several prizes, including the Miles Franklin Literary Award. Her new novel, The Life to Come, will be published in October 2017.




Anna Funder’s novel All That I Am won the Miles Franklin Prize, along with many others. Anna’s non-fiction book Stasiland, hailed as ‘a classic’, won the 2004 Samuel Johnson Prize. Both books were finalists for many international awards including the Guardian First Book Prize, the International IMPAC Dublin Award and the Commonwealth Writers Prize. They are international bestsellers and are published in 20 countries.



Laura Jones is Jessica Anderson’s daughter. She is a screenwriter, whose films include An Angel At My Table, The Portrait of a Lady, Oscar & Lucinda, The Well, Angela’s Ashes, and High Tide. She is the recipient of the Australian Writers’ Guild Inaugural Lifetime Achievement Award in 2016.



Geordie Williamson is publisher of Picador Australia. He is the former chief literary critic of The Australian and outgoing editor of Best Australian Essays. In 2012 he published The Burning Library, a collection of essays on neglected Australian authors, including Jessica Anderson.




The Honouring Australian Writers series is made possible with support from the Copyright Agency Cultural Fund and the State Library of NSW.

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