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A show about books, stories, the craft of writing - and the people behind the lines.

A show about books, stories, the craft of writing - and the people behind the lines.
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Brunswick East, VIC


A show about books, stories, the craft of writing - and the people behind the lines.




Backstory - 4 December 2019

Mel Cranenburgh and Beth AQ team up for this special Backstory/Glasshouse extravaganza marking the final show for each program in 2019. They are joined by author Favel Parrett to discuss her latest book, There Was Still Love and Angela Meyer comes in to chat about her novella, Joan Smokes. Beth and Mel talk about their highlight ‘reads of the year’ and tell us what they hope to be reading over the summer break.


Backstory - 27 November 2019

Helen Garner has a well established reputation as one of Australia’s best writers. A novelist, short-story writer, screenwriter and journalist, Helen’s work spans fiction, non-fiction and reportage. Her latest book, Yellow Notebook Volume 1, is an edited selection drawn from her personal diaries spanning 1978 to 1987. In this extended interview, Helen joins Backstory host Mel Cranenburgh to reflect on her practice, the craft of writing both fiction and non-fiction and the pleasure of...


Backstory - 13 November 2019

Jane Sullivan, author of Storytime, joins Mel Cranenburgh to discuss her latest book where she takes readers from Wonderland to Narnia; is enchanted by Winnie-the-Pooh and the Magic Pudding, amazed by Enid Blyton and frightened by the Tales of Terror. And then there are those stories made tricky by often posthumous revelations about the author’s lives…. Mel is then joined by Associate Professor Leonie Rutherford to discuss how digital platforms might inspire a new generation of young...


Backstory - 6 November 2019

Mel is joined by Curtis Sittenfeld, the acclaimed New York based author of Eligible, Sisterland and American Wife. Her latest publication, You Think It, I’ll Say It, is a collection of short stories that demonstrates, in the words of one Washington Post critic, Curtis' 'astonishing gift for creating characters that take up residence in readers’ heads'. Curtis is in Melbourne to appear at the inaugural Broadside feminist festival at the Wheelers Centre on the 8 - 9 November. Jade Walsh from...


Backstory - 30 October 2019

Word for Word is Australia’s only non-fiction writing festival. It’s a unique annual literary event showcasing non-fiction writing in all its many facets and forms with world-renowned writers, dynamic panel discussions and “in conversation” sessions. The theme for this year is Nyaal, a Wadawurrung word that means ‘open your eyes’. As Festival Director Rochelle Smith tells Backstory’s Mel Cranenburgh, this year’s event aims to showcase the many hidden and unheard histories of this country.


Backstory - 23 October 2019

Acclaimed author Elliot Pearlman joins Mel Cranenburgh to discuss his latest novel, Maybe The Horse Will Talk, a searing but darkly funny look at the vicissitudes of life inside corporate capitalism in the era of the MeToo and Time’s Up movements. In this extended interview, he tells Mel about how his own experiences as a lawyer helped him to get inside the head of his main protagonist, Stephen Maserov, a former teacher and second-year lawyer whose life is spirally slowly out of control...


Backstory - 16 October 2019

Author, editor and publisher, Hilary McPhee, joins Mel Cranenburgh to discuss her new memoir Other People’s Houses. Fleeing the aftermath of a failed marriage, Hilary began the project in the Middle East where she had travelled to write about a member of the Hashemite royal family. The book that emerged from this was not the book she had anticipated but instead became a welcome exploration of the changes that she underwent at this time in her life. The result is, as one reviewer notes,...


Backstory - 9 October 2019

Mel Cranenburgh chats to author Anna Krien. Anna's latest release, Act of Grace, is a meditation on inheritance: the damage that one generation passes on to the next, and the potential for transformation. Anna is also the author of the award-winning Night Games and Into the Woods, as well as two Quarterly Essays, Us and Them and The Long Goodbye. Sonja Dechian was recently announced as the overall winner of the 2019 ABR Elizabeth Jolley Short Story Prize for her story ‘The Point-Blank...


Backstory - 2 October 2019

Francesca Rendle-Short, Michele Lee and Rajith Savanadasa join Mel Cranenburgh to talk about The Near and The Far, Volume II: more stories from the Asia-Pacific region. Spanning fiction, nonfiction, and poetry from the Asia-Pacific’s finest writers — including Christos Tsiolkas, Alice Pung, Norman Erikson Pasaribu, Han Yujoo, Ellen van Neerven, and Ali Cobby Eckermann — the collection, edited by David Carlin and Francesca Rendle-Short, invites readers on a unique and unforgettable...


Backstory - 11 September 2019

Josephine Rowe’s, Here Until August, is a selection of superbly crafted stories follow the fates of characters who, by choice or by force, are travelling beyond the boundaries of their known worlds. Josephine joins Mel to discuss this new work. Josephine’s novel, A Loving, Faithful Animal, was longlisted for the Miles Franklin Literary Award, selected as a New York Times Editors’ Choice and led to her being named a 2017 Sydney Morning Herald Best Young Novelist. Lisa Dempster is the...


Backstory - 4 September 2019

Meg Mundell is a New Zealand-born writer and academic based in Melbourne. Her first novel, Black Glass, was shortlisted for two Aurealis Awards, the Barbara Jefferis Award and the Norma K. Hemming Award. She joins host Mel Cranenburgh to discuss her new book, The Trespassers. Joanne Ramos’ novel The Farm is described by The New York Post as ‘brilliant’ and by NPR as ‘heady [and] chilling’. She joins Mel to discuss her work which pushes to the extremes our thinking on motherhood, money, and...


Backstory - 28 August 2019

Nina Kenwood’s Young Adult novel, It Sounded Better in my Head, has been described by The Age as ‘a sweet, funny and relatable account of the dramas of those grappling with late adolescence’. She joins Backstory host Mel Cranenburgh to talk about the genesis of the book and the enjoyment she got from writing it. Joey Bui then joins Mel to talk about her riveting first book, Lucky Ticket, a highly original collection of stories by a talented young writer.


Backstory - 7 August 2019

Angela Savage discusses her novel, Mother Of Pearl, which explores the ethical minefield of international surrogacy through the stories of three women. Mel Campbell and Anthony Morris, both Melbourne-based freelance journalist and critics then join Mel to talk about their second collaboration, Nailed It!


Backstory - 31 July 2019

2019’s Miles Franklin award winner, Melissa Lucashenko, joins Mel on the line to talk about her novel, Too Much Lip. R.W.R. McDonald then drops into the studio to tell us about his debut novel, 'The Nancys', a refreshing take on the popular Nancy Drew novels for a new generation.


Backstory - 24 July 2019

Mel chats with Alice Bishop, author of A Constant Hum, a moving collection of vignettes that grapples with the aftermath of the Black Saturday bushfires. As one critic notes, some of the vignettes ‘cut to the bone; others are empathetic tales of survival, even hope’. Lee Kofman and Romana Koval then join Mel to chat about their new anthology, Split, a collection about loss, leaving and new beginnings.


Backstory - 10 July 2019

Writer Amra Pajalic tells Mel Cranenburgh about her new book, Things Nobody Knows But Me, a memoir about being parented by mother with bi-polar disorder who is from a non-English speaking background. The book was published by Transit Lounge in 2019. Peta Hanrahan and Anna Kennedy then talk Mel through a new production based on Virginia Woolf's A Room of One's Own, adapted by Sentient Theatre and showing at fortyfivedownstairs.


Backstory - 26 June 2019

In this episode of Backstory, Nicola Redhouse joins host, Mel Cranenburgh, to talk about Nicola’s latest release Unlike The Heart: A Memoir of Brain and Mind, a memoir which explores post-natal anxiety through a psychoanalytic lens. And author Meg Keneally joins Mel to discuss her first solo novel, Fled, an epic historical adventure based on the extraordinary life of convict Mary Bryant.


Backstory - 19 June 2019

In this episode, author Mark Brandi joins Mel Cranenburgh to talk about his new novel, The Rip, described as'an urban crime novel that slowly and masterfully hooks you in... then shocks with the horrific crime and the dread that the characters you care about aren't going to make it out alive'. Then Melbourne-based animator, comic artist and zinemaker, Peo Michie, and multidisciplinary artist, musician and writer, Heather Joan Day, come by to chat with Mel about Interstitial, an event...


Backstory - 12 June 2019

In this episode, Bren MacDibble, author of the award-winning How To Bee, joins host Mel Cranenburgh to talk her new book, The Dog Runner, and what it's like to write for the 'middle audience' - those young readers aged between 9 and 12. Plus, we hear from Glen Eira Storytelling Festival Festival Director Suzanne Olb about this year's event, a cultural extravaganza of music, comedy, stories and workshops held from 22 June to 7 July.


Backstory - 5 June 2019

On this episode, Fiona McGregor, author of A Novel Idea joins host Mel Cranenburgh to chat about what life is really like when a writer sits down to stare down the blank page. Katie Smyrk, deputy editor of The Big Issue, also joins Melto review two books you need on your to-read list.