Books That Made Us

Books That Made Us

From Tuesday 23 November at 8.30pm

Claudia Karvan explores the Books That Made Us

Acclaimed actor Claudia Karvan embarks on an extraordinary literary adventure to explore the stories that have shaped our nation’s identity in Books That Made Us - a three-part documentary premiering on Tuesday 23rd November at 8.30pm on ABC TV and ABC iview.

In a ‘who’s who’ of Australian storytelling, Claudia meets some of our most beloved and brilliant writers, finds out their secrets, and experiences Australia through the place, its people and the power of our stories.

From Booker Prize winners to best-selling authors and writers who have penned seminal stories, Claudia meets Richard Flanagan, Alexis Wright, Helen Garner, Tim Winton, David Malouf, Kate Grenville, Christos Tsiolkas, Thomas Keneally, Liane Moriarty, Trent Dalton, Kim Scott, and Melissa Lucashenko.

Delving into this magical collection of books, Claudia discovers the stories behind the stories, the workings of the writers’ imaginations and their motivation to write novels that have been shaped by Australia and, in turn, shaped this country.

Some of the nation’s finest critics and creative minds, including Tim Minchin and Annabel Crabb, dissect these great stories, offering insights and understanding. Subtly woven throughout is the context and social history, the backdrop to when and why these novels were written.

From the Sydney Writers’ Festival to kayaking in the wilds of Tasmania, from Brisbane’s Boggo Road Gaol to a First Nations writing and language workshop in Western Australia, Claudia travels the country in search of Australia’s great writing and the story of who we are.

In addition to the television series, ABC Books is publishing a companion book which will be released on Wednesday 17 November. Written by Carl Reinecke, with a foreword by Claudia Karvan, the book is your guide to Australia’s novels that lie at the heart of the country.

Episode 1: PEOPLE

As an actor, for Claudia Karvan great storytelling is all about people, great characters. From Peter Carey’s True History of the Kelly Gang to Christos Tsiolkas’ The Slap and many more books besides, she wants to see what truths we can uncover about ourselves, through the fictitious characters of Australian novels.

Episode 2: PLACE

Tuesday 30 November at 8:30pm

In this second episode Claudia Karvan discovers how Australia has set the stage for our great stories. From Kate Grenville’s confronting The Secret River in Sydney to Richard Flanagan’s Death of a River Guide in Tasmania and Trent Dalton’s Boy Swallows Universe in Brisbane, Claudia ventures out across Australia in search of books that could only have been written in this extraordinary place.

Episode 3: POWER

Tuesday 7 December at 8:30pm

On the final leg of her literary adventure, Claudia Karvan delves into power - its abuse and misuse in our stories. This includes the toxic masculinity in books such as Puberty Blues and Liane Moriarty’s Big Little Lies to the corrupt power of the Catholic church in Thomas Keneally’s Crimes of the Father. Also profiled is Frank Hardy’s Power Without Glory.