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Event Details

Beginnings: 21st Century Lives

26 May 2023
10.00am – 10.30am AEST
Bay 24, Carriageworks
This event has ended

Emma A. Jane will no longer appear in the event due to health reasons. 

Eleanor Catton | Benjamin Gilmour | Raina MacIntyre | Andrew Quilty

Sliding doors, transformative moments: whatever you call them…

Pregnant with the thrill of storytelling, full of surprises, calm, jarring, momentous or direct, the first lines of a writer’s work take us to exactly where they want us to be. Come and meet our festival guests as they unfold their beginnings in five-minute readings. In just 30 minutes, hear from Eleanor Catton, Benjamin Gilmour, Raina MacIntyre and Andrew Quilty as they share excerpts from their new books.  

This event is presented by the Sydney Writers' Festival and supported by UNSW Sydney. 


UNSW Sydney is the exclusive university sponsor and proud Premier Partner of the Sydney Writers’ Festival. Featuring UNSW academics and researchers on Sydney Writers’ Festival stages, and events at the UNSW Kensington Campus, this partnership brings together a shared vision of creativity, curiosity and thought leadership. 


This event is free and will take place live at Carriageworks. For all venue and visitor safety information, please visit Sydney Writers' Festival.


Wheelchair Access
All Festival venues are accessible and have wheelchair and level access. To book accessible seats for events at Carriageworks, please contact the Sydney Writers' Festival Box Office on (02) 9256 4200 or email

Accessible Parking
Accessible parking is available at Carriageworks. Please call (02) 8571 9099 for Carriageworks parking information.


Carriageworks is located at 245 Wilson Street, Eveleigh. This is a 10-minute walk from Redfern Station, City Road bus stops and Macdonaldtown Station. Catching public transport is strongly recommended as residential parking in the area is strictly limited, and the Sydney Writers' Festival offers a shuttle bus services from Redfern Station at selected times. For more information on transport, visit or visit,



Sydney Writers' Festival
For all event enquiries, please call the Sydney Writers' Festival on 02 9256 4200 or email

UNSW Centre for Ideas
For all other enquiries, please call the Centre for Ideas on 02 9065 0485 or email

National Relay Service
The Centre for Ideas and Sydney Writers' Festival are happy to receive phone calls via the National Relay Service. TTY users, phone 133 677, then ask for the applicable organisations phone number (listed above). Speak and Listen users, phone 1300 555 727 then ask for applicable organisations phone number (listed above). Internet relay users, visit, then ask for applicable organisations phone number (listed above). 

Eleanor Catton

Eleanor Catton

Eleanor Catton is the author of The Luminaries, winner of the Man Booker Prize and the Governor General's Literary Award and an international bestseller. Her debut novel, The Rehearsal won the Betty Trask Prize, was shortlisted for the Guardian First Book Award and the Dylan Thomas Prize, and longlisted for the Orange Prize. As a screenwriter, she adapted The Luminaries for television, and Jane Austen's Emma for feature film. Born in 1985 in Canada and raised in New Zealand, she now lives in Cambridge, England. Her most recent book, Birnam Wood is out now.

Benjamin Gilmour

Benjamin Gilmour

Benjamin Gilmour is a writer and filmmaker, director of the films Jirga, Paramedico and Son of a Lion. He is the author of the books Warrior Poets, Paramedico and The Gap. He has travelled extensively in Afghanistan where he filmed his latest feature film Jirga, Australia's entry to the 91st Academy Awards. He lives in Northern NSW, Australia.


Raina MacIntyre

Professor Raina MacIntyre is a dual-specialist physician with a masters and PhD in epidemiology, training in outbreak investigation and over 450 scientific publications. She is a leader in pandemics, bioterrorism, vaccines and facemasks, on expert committees for the WHO and other bodies. She has won many awards including the Sir Henry Wellcome Medal and Prize from the Association of Military Surgeons of the United States and the Eureka Prize for Leadership in Science and Innovation.    

Andrew Quilty

Andrew Quilty

Andrew Quilty is the recipient of nine Walkley Awards, including the Gold Walkley, for his work on Afghanistan, where he was based between 2013 and 2022. He has also received the George Polk Award, the World Press Photo Award and the Overseas Press Club of America award for his investigation into massacres committed by a CIA-backed Afghan militia. August in Kabul is his first book.

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