Sydney Writers' Festival 2017: Hisham Matar

We were thrilled to support Pulitzer Prize winning author Hisham Matar to take part in the Sydney Writers Festival in May 2017. 

Hisham Matar was born in 1970 in New York City, where his father was working for the United Nations. When he was three years old, his family went back to Tripoli, but due to political persecutions by the Gaddafi regime, in 1979 the family was forced to flee the country, and lived in exile in Cairo, before moving to London in 1986.

When Matar was 19, his father was kidnapped in Cairo and taken to a prison in Libya. He never saw him again. His unflinching memoir, The Return, charts his search for clues to his father’s fate. Hisham talks to Fairfax literary editor Jason Steger about how his search was both an attempt to reconcile his loss and a harrowing journey into history, politics, art and the brutal legacy of corrupted power. Author Peter Carey called the book ‘a triumph of art over tyranny’.

The British Council also worked with Hisham Matar in 2016 on Lunatics, Lovers and Poets – an anthology about Shakespeare and Cervantes, and supported his participation in the Vancouver Writers Festival and the International Festival of Authors in Toronto as well as the Hay Festival Cartagena de Indiasa in Columbia. In this podcast, recorded live by the British Council at the Hay Festival, Hisham speaks about his memoir.

Last year in Bogotá, Matar generously took part in the British Council’s Ellipsis programme which provides aspiring writers and editors with the opportunity to learn directly from the experience of professional writers, attend a bespoke literary workshop and develop their own publication.

Matar spoke about The Return at the Sydney Writers' Festival in a conversation with Fairfax's literary editor Jason Steger. He also participated in panel discussions, A Murderer in the Family and Resist!. 

For more information visit the Sydney Writers' Festival website.