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Podcast

Geoff Dyer on White Sands | 2018 Litfest Podcast

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Considered one of Britain’s greatest contemporary writers, Geoff Dyer is the award-winning author of books such as But Beautiful and Jeff in Venice, Death in Varanasi. In discussing his latest book, White Sands: Experiences from the Outside World, he dealt with the power of memory, his experiences ranging from the Lightning Field in New Mexico to a hunt for Gauguin’s ghost in Tahiti and the question of why we travel.

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Peter Conradi on Who Lost Russia | 2018 Litfest Podcast

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The collapse of the Soviet Union at the end of 1991 appeared to usher in a remarkable new era of peace and co-operation between Moscow and the West. This, we were told, was the end of history: after decades of struggle, the entire world would embrace enlightenment values and liberal democracy. Reality has proved very different, with each US president leaving relations with Russia in a worse state than he found them. Donald Trump, a self-confessed fan of Vladimir Putin, seemed determined to find a way of breaking out of this dead end. Yet, perversely, his arrival in the White House – and the role the Kremlin is accused of playing in facilitating it – has added yet another complication.

Peter Conradi witnessed the end of the Cold War from Moscow.  In his new book, he charts the ups  and – mostly – downs of Russia’s relations with the West in the years since, from Boris Yeltsin’s “time of troubles” to the growing authoritarianism of the Putin era.

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Osamah Sami on Good Muslim Boy | 2018 Litfest Podcast

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A hilarious and heartbreaking story of a young man wrestling with his father’s legacy and what it means to be a ‘good Muslim’, join award winning writer, actor and comedian Osamah Sami in his discussion on his life’s journey.

By the age of 13, Osamah had survived the Iran–Iraq war, peddled fireworks and chewing gum on the Iranian black market, proposed ‘temporary marriage’ not once but three times, and received countless floggings from the Piety Police for trying to hold hands with girls in dark cinemas.

Even in Australia, life has been eventful. He faked a perfect Year 12 score and acceptance into a University of Melbourne medical degree (and got away with it for a whole year) and escaped an arranged marriage by literally running away on his wedding day.

His book Good Muslim Boy received the 2016 NSW Premier’s Literary Award. Osamah co-wrote and starred in Australia’s first Muslim romantic comedy, Ali’s Wedding, which received the Audience Award for Best Feature Film at the 2017 Sydney Film Festival.

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Alexander Weinstein on Dystopian AI in Children of the New World | 2018 LitFest Podcast

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Alexander Weinstein’s short story collection, Children of the New World, explores a near-future world of social-media implants, memory manufacturers, dangerously immersive virtual-reality games, and frighteningly intuitive robots. Through the lens of speculative fiction, Weinstein’s stories grapple with our ever-growing dependence on new technologies. The author will read from his collection and discuss the joys and challenges which our modern-day fascination with AI, robots, and cybernetics poses to our present-day relationships, as well as how fiction might help us build a better future.

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Charlotte Wood & Sheng Keyi on Women in Dystopian Novels | 2018 LitFest Podcast

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When repression intrudes into a society by degrees, it is felt first by the powerless of that society: its poor, its minorities, its women. The rights of the defenseless are the first to be compromised – but the process rarely stops there. Tonight’s authors have both envisioned, in allegorical or imagined form, the dangers of repression: what might have been; what has already happened; what might yet be. Charlotte Wood’s most recent novel, The Natural Way of Things, winner of the 2016 Stella Prize, imagines a near future where subtle misogyny has festered to the bursting point. Sheng Keyi’s Death Fugue, published in Australia in 2014, is a more overt dystopia, but one in which the female body is again one of the primary targets of control. Hear them discuss the present, the future, and their own visions of hope.

Moderated by Eric Abrahamsen.

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Nick Bonner on Graphics From Everyday Life in the DPRK | 2018 LitFest Podcast

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During his 25 years of travelling to the DPRK, Nicholas Bonner has amassed one of the world’s largest collections of beautiful and quirky items of North Korean graphic design. These items — from stamps and postcards, to food labels, luggage tags, and cigarette packs — have now been curated for presentation in a unique single-volume book, Made in North Korea, alongside a number of informative and insightful essays penned by Bonner.

Published by Phaidon, the book uncovers the fascinating and surprisingly beautiful graphic culture of North Korea, while providing new understanding into the country and its aesthetics.

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Stewart Lee Beck on 18 Amazing People who influenced Modern China | 2018 LitFest Podcast

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Join author Stewart Lee Beck, co-founder of China Simplified, for an entertaining, fast-rewind journey through 5,000 years of Chinese history to better understand the modern nation.

Stewart will highlight China Simplified’s 18 must-know historic characters – from the “Heroic Historian” and the “Artist Emperor” forward to the “Floating CEO” and the “Fashion Icons” – whose lives continue to exert a profound influence on 21st-century Chinese culture and its mindset.

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