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Thu, 16 Feb


Better Read Than Dead

Author talk with Paul Dalgarno

Join us to celebrate Paul Dalgarno's latest novel, A Country of Eternal Light. Paul will be in conversation with Fiona Kelly McGregor.

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Author talk with Paul Dalgarno
Author talk with Paul Dalgarno

Time & Location

16 Feb 2023, 6:30 pm – 7:30 pm

Better Read Than Dead, 265 King St, Newtown NSW 2042, Australia


About The Event

An astonishingly inventive, playful, witty and deeply moving novel from one of Australia’s most exciting writers.

Margaret Bryce, deceased mother of twins, has been having a hard time since dying in 2014. These days she spends time with her daughters – Eva in Madrid, and Rachel and her family in Melbourne – and her estranged husband Henry in Aberdeen. Mostly she enjoys the experience of revisiting the past, but she’s tiring of the seemingly random events to which she repeatedly bears witness. There must be something more to life, she thinks? And death? 

Spanning more than seventy-five years, from 1945 to 2021, A Country of Eternal Light follows Margaret as she flits from wartime Germany to Thatcher’s Britain to modern-day Scotland, Australia and Spain, ruminating on everything from the Piper Alpha oil rig disaster and Australia’s Black Summer bushfires to Mary Queen of Scots’ beheading, the death of Princess Diana and in-vitro fertilisation. 

But why is facing up to what’s happened in one’s past as hard as, if not harder, than blocking it out completely? A poignant, utterly original and bitingly funny novel about complicated grief and how we remain wanted by our loved ones, dead or alive.

About Paul

Paul Dalgarno is an author and journalist. He was deputy editor of The Conversation (Australia) and a senior writer and features editor at the Herald newspaper group (UK). He has written for The Guardian, Archer and Australian Book Review, and is currently managing editor of ScreenHub. He is also the author of And You May Find Yourself (Sleepers, 2015), Poly (Ventura, 2020) and Prudish Nation (Upswell Publishing, 2023).

About Fiona

Fiona Kelly McGregor’s most recent novel is Iris, based on the life of petty criminal Iris Webber, set in 1930s Sydney. Previously, Indelible ink won Age Book of the Year and was published in French by Actes-Sud. Earlier books include essay collection Buried not dead, shortlisted for the VPLA, photoessay A novel idea, Strange museums, a travel memoir of a performance art tour through Poland, and the underground classic chemical palace. McGregor writes for The Saturday Paper, Sydney Review of Books and more, and lives and works on Gadigal land.


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