In the year that celebrates 30 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall we are delighted to be able to bring Anna Funder to Maleny for an Outspoken event. Before turning to writing full-time in the late 1990’s, Anna worked as an international lawyer for the Australian Government, focusing on human rights, constitutional law, and treaty negotiation. After jettisoning her legal career to write Stasiland, she jobbed for a time as a radio and television documentary producer at the ABC.
Stasiland describes the period Anna spent in the former East Germany, after the war came down. It tells the stories of people who heroically resisted the communist dictatorship of East Germany, and of people who worked for its secret police, the Stasi. Shortlisted for many awards in Australia and Britain, in 2004 Stasiland won the world’s most significant prize for non-fiction, the Samuel Johnson Prize. Hailed as ‘a masterpiece’ and ‘a classic,’ Stasiland has been published in 25 countries and translated into 16 languages, adapted for radio and CD in the UK and Australia.
In 2011 Anna published the novel All That I Am, set in pre-war Britain. When Hitler comes to power in 1933, a tight-knit group of friends and lovers become hunted outlaws overnight. United in their resistance to the madness and tyranny of Nazism, they find refuge in London. Here they take breath-taking risks in order to continue their work in secret. But England is not the safe-haven they think it to be, and a single, chilling act of betrayal will tear them apart… Based on real people and events, All That I Am is a masterful and exhilarating exploration of bravery and betrayal, of the risks and sacrifices some people make for their beliefs, and of heroism hidden in the most unexpected places.
All That I Am went on to win many awards, including the Miles Franklin, the Barbara Jefferis, the Indie Best Debut Fiction,The Indie Book of the Year 2012, the ABIA Best Literary Fiction, the ABIA Book of the Year and the Neilsen BookData Booksellers’ Choice Award.
Anna holds BA (Hons), LLB (Hons) and an M.A. and a Doctorate in Creative Arts, and speaks fluent French and German. She grew up in Melbourne and Paris, and lives in Sydney with her husband and three children.
Mary Garden was born and raised in New Zealand, but has lived in many different parts of the world, including several years in India. The time she spent searching in that country were the subject of her first memoir The Serpent Rising: a journey of spiritual seduction. She moved to Maleny in 1989 and has had strong connections to the town ever since.
Her new book, Sundowner of the Skies, is a memoir/biography of her father, a famous aviator who achieved notoriety when he became the youngest and most inexperienced pilot to fly solo from England to Australia. Fellow pilots ranked his 1930 flight along with the achievements of Charles Kingsford Smith and Amy Johnson. Writing the book was a journey of discovery for Mary. Until she started her research she knew little of his life and his extraordinary history.
Trent Dalton writes: ‘This is a book heading towards two horizons, one to be found on the latitude of history, and another that must be navigated through the human heart…. It is a rattling, searing, soulful story that takes flight on the Gipsy Moth wings of the author’s relentless research and willingness to pull back every curtain of this extraordinary man’s life, sometimes at her own emotional peril. I didn’t want this trip to end.’