Talk Show Replays

A show about books, stories, the craft of writing - and the people behind the lines. The intro and outro theme is Soft Illusion and was generously provided by Andras.


Brunswick East, VIC


A show about books, stories, the craft of writing - and the people behind the lines. The intro and outro theme is Soft Illusion and was generously provided by Andras.




Last ever Backstory, with Toni Jordan & Phillipa McGuinness

Presenter Mel Cranenburgh winds up 4 years of presenting Backstory today, and joining her are two highly accomplished authors. First, Phillipa (Pip) McGuinness discusses her book 'Skin Deep', which deals with beauty, ageing, health, illness, and interrogating white fragility. Mel and Pip touch on writing about race, skin cancers, and the challenges of mixing history, journalism, interviews, and cultural studies into one book. And author Toni Jordan tells Mel about her book 'Dinner with the...


Robert Lukins

'Loveland' follows the story of May, who travels from Australia to Loveland, Nebraska to claim a house on a poisoned lake as a part of her grandmother's will. As she seeks to escape her controlling husband and repair the old house, the secrets of her grandmother's life are slowly uncovered and parallel May's own life in many ways. Author Robert Lukins and host Mel Cranenburgh discuss why small towns make a good backdrop for gothic subject matter, escapism, writing as "thinking on a page",...


Natasha Sholl

'Found, Wanting' is author Natasha Sholl's memoir about attempting to rebuild her life in the aftermath of her partner Rob's sudden death at the age of 27 years old and deal with cultural assumptions and expectations about the "right way" to grieve. Author Natasha Sholl and host Mel Cranenburgh explore writing about grief before and after experiencing it, objectivity in memoir, faith and ritual around morning, receiving feedback from others who are grieving, and hope. Website:...


Melissa Manning

Winner of the Victorian Premier's Literary Award for fiction, 'Smokehouse' is a collection of interlinked short stories all set in a small-town community in Southern Tasmania. Author Melissa Manning's book follows a fundamental point of change in each of its character's intersecting lives. Melissa Manning and host Mel Cranenburgh talk about creating a sense of place, leaving space in storytelling for readers to speculate on the future, and what characters do when they are "out of...


Omar Sakr

Author and award-winning poet Omar Sakr discusses his debut novel ‘Son of Sin’. This coming-of-age story follows a young queer Muslim boy as he contends with an intergenerational legacy of family ties and ruptures. The novel explores faith, the supernatural, silence, memory, and rumour. With presenter Mel Cranenburgh. Website:


Vanessa Len

Vanessa Len chats to Mel about her debut novel ‘Only A Monster’, a gripping young adult fantasy that is the first of a trilogy. It follows the tumultuous journey of a half-human, half-monster heroine who, after learning a secret that unravels her reality, must embrace the monster inside her. Out now through Allen & Unwin. With presenter Mel Cranenburgh. Website:


Jessica Au

‘Cold Enough For Snow’ is Jessica Au’s tightly crafted, award-winning second novel that wrestles with the tension that comes with words unspoken. As mother and daughter travel through Japan together, the unbridgeable emotional distance between them unravels; as everything is awakened in that which can’t be said. Out now through Giramondo. With presenter Mel Cranenburgh. Website:


Diana Reid

Australian author Diana Reid delves into her debut novel ‘Love & Virtue’. The novel introduces Michaela and Eve, two fellow college students in Sydney who come to know the privilege, power and male-dominated culture that wreak havoc in such institutions. Amidst a social minefield, the two girls navigate consent, sex, feminism, class, love and envy. Out now through Ultimo Press. With presenter Elsie Lange. Website:


Hannah Kent

Award-winning writer of ‘Burial Rites' and 'The Good People’, Hannah Kent, gives thoughtful insight into her latest novel, ‘Devotion’. Her lush descriptions of nature, religion, land, ghosts and queerness intertwine with the power of love, as we hear from the unique perspectives of three women. With presenter Elsie Lange. Website:


Delia Falconer

Walkley Award-winning author Delia Falconer chats about her fourth book, ‘Signs and Wonders, Dispatches from a time of beauty and loss’. Comprising thirteen essays, it delves deeply into the human impact on the climate crisis, whilst appreciating the beauty and wonders of our ever-changing landscape. With presenter Elsie Lange. Website:


Emily Bitto

Stella Award-winning novelist, Emily Bitto delves into her new novel ‘Wild Abandon’. It follows Will, as he journeys to America in an attempt to mend his broken heart and hopefully find some peace and wisdom along the way. The trip takes surprising twists and turns, with hedonism, masculinity and capitalism all in the mix, softened by the innocence and tenderness of lion cubs. With presenter Elsie Lange. Website:


Michelle de Kretser

In her latest book, two-time Miles Franklin award winner, Michelle de Kretser explores the ‘Scary Monsters’ of racism and misogyny. It follows two distinct novellas based in different times and places, though linked by migrant experiences. Out now through Allen & Unwin. With presenter Mel Cranenburgh. Website:


In Conversation with Tony Birch

Award-winning author of nine books; poet, essayist, historian and activist, Tony Birch joins Mel for a special ‘In Conversation’ event about his latest book, ‘Dark as Last Night’. It is a collection of short stories, encapsulating the complex layers of the human condition; especially aligned with finding resilience and strength in positions of adversity. With presenter Mel Cranenburgh. Website:


Krissy Kneen

In her seventh book, ‘The Three Burials of Lottie Kneen’, Krissy Kneen introduces her late grandmother and family matriarch, Lotty Kneen. Her passing sparked Krissy’s quest to uncover more about her family. Using prose, poetry and imagery, Krissy's journey takes on a paradoxical tapestry of themes like gruesome fairytales, serendipity and secrets. Out now through Text Publishing. With presenter Mel Cranenburgh. Website:


Jacquie Byron

In Jacquie Byron’s debut novel ‘Happy Hour’, we peer through the lens of 65-year old, newly-widowed Franny as she alternately revels in artistry and aloneness. Despite her escapist tendencies, her need for community evolves and she finds solace in new friendships. The book is out now through Allen & Unwin. With presenter Mel Cranenburgh. Website:


Miles Allinson

Miles Allinson’s second novel, ‘In Moonland’ explores three timelines that draw on seeking answers to their past and grappling with a turbulent future. It's the follow-up to his highly acclaimed debut novel 'Fever of Animals'. Both novels are out through Scribe. With presenter Mel Cranenburgh. Website:


Mark Brandi

Award-winning author Mark Brandi explores his new psychological thriller, ‘The Others’. Tensions rise in isolated rural Tasmania, as 11-year old Jacob’s curiosity and desire to discover what lies beyond his restricted world, boils to the surface. Out now through Hachette. With presenter Mel Cranenburgh. Website:


Amani Haydar

Artist, lawyer and women’s health and safety activist, Amani Haydar, gives a confronting and powerful insight into her memoir, ‘The Mother Wound’. After losing her mother and grandmother, she divulges the brutal terrain in building resilience amidst family breakdowns and a sea of legal, Islamaphobic and misogynistic battles. Out now through Hachette. With presenter Mel Cranenburgh. Website:


Allee Richards

Introducing her debut novel, 'Small Joys of Real Life' Allee Richards talks us through the nuts and bolts of her writing. Set amongst pre-pandemic Melbourne, the novel explores how life can take us on unplanned journeys, which inevitably shape who we are. With presenter Mel Cranenburgh. Website:


Michael Mohammed Ahmad

Award-winning novelist Michael Muhammad Ahmed provides insight into how he went about writing his new novel, ‘The Other Half of You’. Caught between his desire to reject oppressive traditions and live on his own terms, we peer into lead character Bani’s lens as a young Lebanese Muslim Australian man. Out now through Hachette. With presenter Mel Cranenburgh. Website: