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.