Talking Writing Events

Antarctica – 24 July

He was soon borne away by the waves and lost in darkness and distance.’

Mary Shelley, Frankenstein

Antarctica is an enduring source of inspiration for writers and artists, with its bleak, alien landscapes and its utter remoteness from the developed world. This Thursday 24 July, the NSW Writers’ Centre presents the latest in our ‘Talking Writing’ series, featuring a discussion between authors who have used Antarctica as the setting for their work. The evening runs from 6:30pm-8pm and wine and cheese will be served.

We will be joined by crime writer L.A. Larkin, author of Antarctica-based thriller Thirst. She will talk about bringing words to life in an alien environment. Travel writer David McGonigal will talk about his book Antarctica – The Complete Story, as well as his more than 100 visits to the frozen continent. Also joining us will be painter, photographer, architect, and author Alasdair McGregor, who will discuss his photography and various books on Antarctica.

Members of the NSW Writers’ Centre can attend this event for free. If you would like to attend, please RSVP here. If you are not a member, you can purchase a ticket for $10 here.


Crime-thriller author, L.A. Larkin, has been likened to Michael Crichton and John Grisham. Her debut novel, The Genesis Flaw, was nominated for four crime fiction awards. Thirst was one of the best crime fiction books of 2012 (Readings) and has been nominated for a Davitt and a Ned Kelly Award. The author goes to extremes to research her stories: to write Thirst she went to Antarctica, learned about Polar survival, explosives, and how to sew up a wound. Larkin writes fast-paced, high-stakes stories that tap into the fears of our time. She lives in Sydney and is currently working on a crime fiction series, as well as her next thriller.

David McGonigal’s enduring enthusiasm for Antarctica has led to a long list of achievements. He is the co-author of the definitive Antarctica – the Complete Story and the smaller Antarctica – The Blue Continent as well as the more-recent Antarctica – Secrets of the Southern Continent. He has contributed articles on Antarctica and the Arctic to newspapers and magazines around the world and his photographs have been exhibited worldwide. He has visited Antarctica every year since 1995 and has participated in more than 100 polar voyages, leading many of them.

Painter, photographer and architect, Alasdair McGregor is the author of a number of books including: The Kimberley: Horizons of Stone, Australia’s Wild Islands (both with Quentin Chester), Mawson’s Huts: An Antarctic Expedition Journal, Frank Hurley: A Photographer’s Life and Grand Obsessions: The Life and Work of Walter Burley Griffin and Marion Mahony Griffin. Grand Obsessions won the 2011 National Biography Award. He was artist and photographer for three AAP Mawson’s Huts Foundation expeditions to Antarctica, and in 2000 was curator (for the Australian High Commission to Canada) of ‘ . . . that sweep of splendour’: A Century of Australians in Antarctica, a travelling exhibition featuring the photography of Frank Hurley. Alasdair is also the editor of Antarctica: Collected Writings. His latest book, A Forger’s Progress: The Life of Francis Greenway, will be published in November. Alasdair McGregor lives in Sydney.

Honouring Thea Astley – 23 August

‘The more you try to be interested in other people, the more you find out about yourself.’

Thea Astley

Sometimes we forget about the great when revelling in the new.  At this annual event the NSW Writers’ Centre intends to address this by honouring Australian writers who have made a significant contribution to our literary culture.

On the tenth anniversary of her death, this is an opportunity to revisit or perhaps discover the works of Thea Astley, the only writer to have won the Miles Franklin four times. A woman of sharp wit and deep humanity, Thea Astley draws our eye back to that from which we may wish to turn away. She often wrote of the lush Queensland landscape but she grappled with those issues beneath the surface: cruelty and injustice towards Aborigines, women, and the marginalised.

Editor, critic and longtime friend Mark MacLeod joins author Debra Adelaide (The Household Guide to Dying), literary critic Susan Sheridan, and author Felicity Castagna (Small Indiscretions) to celebrate Thea Astley and her work. As is appropriate the event will start with a reading of Thea’s work.

This event will be held on Saturday 23 August, 2014 at the Metcalfe Auditorium in the Macquarie Street Building of the State Library. It will run from 2.00 PM to 3.15 PM.

Members of the NSW Writers’ Centre can attend this event for free but will need to make a booking. Non-members can purchase a ticket for $10. To book your tickets, click here.


To look at previous events in our Talking Writing series, click here.

Join us

Become a member of the NSW Writers' Centre to get Newswrite magazine, discounts to courses and festivals, mentorship, free access to writers' groups, writers' spaces, members' events, the library and more. Join now ›

Follow us on