State Library New South Wales – Take it from us

Celebrate Australian Reading Hour 2023 with a panel of acclaimed writers and enthusiastic readers. Host Kirli Saunders OAM, Richard Cooke, Eda Gunaydin and Ailsa Piper panel share the books that have stayed with them long after the final page, the newer writers you may not have heard of yet, and the titles you might have missed in years past. Have your notebook handy and prepare to add a bunch of brilliant new books to the top of your ‘To Be Read’ list!

Kirli Saunders (OAM) is a proud Gunai Woman and award-winning author, multidisciplinary artist and consultant. An experienced speaker and facilitator advocating for the environment and equality, Kirli was the NSW Aboriginal Woman of the Year (2020). In 2022, she was awarded an Order of Australia Medal for her contribution to the arts, particularly literature. Kirli has partnered with global organisations including Google, Fender, Sydney Opera House, Qantas and Spotify, Mecca and Aesop to celebrate stories and cultivate change. Her books include BindiOur Dreaming and forthcoming Returning (2023, Magabala) among others.

Richard Cooke is a Contributing Editor to The Monthly magazine and its former US Correspondent. A former columnist of the year, he is the author of two books, Tired Of Winning and On Robyn Davidson. His next book is about Wikipedia.

Eda Gunaydin is a Turkish-Australian essayist whose writing explores class, race, diaspora and Western Sydney. Her essays have appeared in the Sydney Review of BooksMeanjinThe Age and elsewhere. She has been a finalist for a Queensland Literary Award and the Scribe Non-Fiction Prize. Her debut essay collection Root & Branch (NewSouth Publishing) was shortlisted for the 2022 Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for non-fiction.

Ailsa Piper works as a writer, performer, mentor and teacher. Her script Small Mercies was co-winner of the Patrick White Playwright’s Award. Her travel memoir, Sinning Across Spain, was published in 2012 and updated in 2017. Her second book, The Attachment: Letters from a most unlikely friendship, was co-written with Tony Doherty. An experienced interviewer and moderator, Ailsa has judged for the NSW and Victorian Premiers Literary Awards seven times and has written essays and articles for various publications. She loves to walk, swim and read — preferably at the same time.