Meet MRF Author: Chris Hammer

Chris Hammer was a journalist for more than thirty years, dividing his career between covering Australian federal politics and international affairs. His first book, The River, published in 2010 to critical acclaim, was the recipient of the ACT Book of the Year Award. This year, Chris’ book Scrublands is the feature of the One Book One Community initiative, where copies of his book are distributed around Mudgee and everyone’s encouraged to enjoy it before the festival rolls around.

MRF attendees are then invited to a fabulous conversation about the book with the author himself during the festival. The One Book One Community event will be held on Saturday 17 August at 10.30am at the Town Hall Theatre, and while the event is free, bookings are essential. The discussion will be hosted by Michael Bourke.

Set in a fictional Riverina town at the height of a devastating drought, Scrublands is one of the most powerful, compelling and original crime novels to be written in Australia.

You can also catch Chris Hammer at the Generation Me or Generation We? panel and Business or Pleasure? - but for now, get to know Chris Hammer with our cheeky little Q&A.


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What book/author has had the biggest impact on your career?

Probably Peter Temple. I loved his crime books, particularly Broken Shore and Truth. He was also my writing teacher when I studied journalism in the early eighties.

How did you get into the writing business?
I was a journalist. I wrote two non-fiction book and liked the process, so tried my hand at fiction, not knowing how well it would go. I wrote Scrublands over four or five years, almost as a hobby, but I was lucky that my brilliant agent, Grace Heifetz liked it and agreed to represent me.

What’s your ideal reading setup?
On the beach, on the train, under a tree on a sunny day. On the couch, in bed at night, wherever.

Coffee or tea?
Ha! Both. Good espresso in the morning, tea in the afternoon and evening

Kindle or Paperback?
Paperback, definitively.

Early riser or night owl?
Night owl. Always have been.

Favourite book of all time?
God, there are so many. Maybe Catch 22.

And most importantly, what are you reading right now?
Normal People by Sally Rooney. Just wonderful.

Meet MRF Author: Rosalie Ham

The brilliant author of worldwide sensation The Dressmaker is coming to Mudgee for this year's cracking Readers' Festival. Rosalie's novels have sold over 150,000 copies in Australia and around the world, with The Dressmaker becoming an award-winning film starring Kate Winslet and Liam Hemsworth. Her latest book is The Year of the Farmer.

Rosalie is the headline speaker at our Long Lazy Lunch on Sunday 18 August, hosted by Alice Grundy at The Cellar By Gilbert - a sell-out event if ever we saw one! You can also catch her at the From Page to Screen and Stage panel on Saturday 17 August.

We caught up with Rosalie to ask her all the important questions (and a few fun ones) ahead of her debut at MRF.


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What book/author has had the biggest impact on your career?

Most of them, but in particular Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. Austen’s humour, wit and observant eye was a revelation to me as a young teenager. Also, her luminous female characters, the suspense, intrigue, love, hurt and the triumphs of everyday drama in a small community spoke of the universal. That story helped me understand the way I saw things.

How did you get into the writing business?

I’ve always written, for as long as I can remember, but it was the writing course at RMIT that galvanised all my writings and guided me towards the publishing industry.

What’s your ideal reading setup?

Flat on my back in bed, two specific head pillows in perfect place and a book resting on the other specific reading pillow on my chest, reading lamp just so.

Coffee or tea?

Coffee, double shot.

Kindle or Paperback?


Early riser or night owl?

A night reader, late riser.

Favourite book of all time?

I usually cite All the Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy but of late I’ve been captured by Amy Bloom’s White Houses. And recently when I was asked that question someone responded, ‘Wouldn’t it be the first novel you published since it started it all?’ It’s a good question.

And most importantly, what are you reading right now?

I’m at a critical stage in my writing so I’m reading stories that won’t ‘sway’ my ‘emotional arc.’ I’m enjoying This is Shakespeare by Emma Smith and Uncommon Arrangements, Seven Marriages in Literary London, 1910-1939 by Katie Roiphe.

To learn where to find all your favourite authors and cracking events, check out the MRF Program and follow us on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

Meet our youth intern!

The Mudgee Readers’ Festival is passionate about developing skills, opportunities and interests for young people in our regional NSW town, and thanks to support from Create NSW and Express Media we are able to bring a youth intern on board this year. Meet Hannah Edensor!

Can you tell us a little about yourself? 

Hello there, I'm Hannah; a 27-year-old freelance writer from Sydney who made the (somewhat rash) decision to swap UberEATS and a 9-5 job for a less stressful life in Mudgee. It's been almost two years, and while I miss having 7000 choices in takeaway restaurants, I've honestly never felt more at home. I enjoy hanging out with my boyfriend and two beautiful dogs, buying house-plants, cooking, and practicing yoga. I don't enjoy how big spiders are in the country. 

What excites you about being involved with the Mudgee Readers’ Festival this year?

I fell out of my reading habit for a while, but since moving to Mudgee, I’ve rediscovered my passion for a great book - and seen how many I've been missing out on! So being able to immerse myself in fascinating stories, share cracking book recommendations, and put my writing skills to good use is basically my happy place.

What are you hoping to get out of the experience of being our first ever youth intern?

I'm really excited to work with such a cool community of locals in Mudgee; seriously, everyone is so engaged with everything going on here, and it's a nice feeling to be a part of that. I'm also keen to expand my network and find opportunities to work with more local businesses, as part of the Festival and beyond.

And most importantly, what are you currently reading?

I've just finished Delia Owen's 'Where the Crawdads Sing' and Stephanie Danler's 'Sweetbitter' - two very different books, but both magic in the way they're written and the worlds they've created.

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