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Mon, 06 May


Better Read Than Dead

Siang Lu in-conversation with Hayley Scrivenor

Join us with Siang Lu to celebrate the release of Ghost Cities! Siang will be joined by Hayley Scrivenor.

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Siang Lu in-conversation with Hayley Scrivenor
Siang Lu in-conversation with Hayley Scrivenor

Time & Location

06 May 2024, 6:30 pm – 8:00 pm

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


About The Event

Perfect for fans of Haruki Murakami, Ghost Cities is a profound and highly imaginative novel that cleverly draws on Chinese history to explore the absurdity of modern life and work.

Ghost Cities – inspired by the vacant, uninhabited megacities of China – follows multiple narratives, including one in which a young man named Xiang is fired from his job as a translator at Sydney’s Chinese Consulate after it is discovered he doesn’t speak a word of Chinese and has been relying entirely on Google Translate for his work.

How is his relocation to one such ghost city connected to a parallel odyssey in which an ancient Emperor creates a thousand doubles of Himself? Or where a horny mountain gains sentience? Where a chess-playing automaton hides a deadly secret? Or a tale in which every book in the known Empire is destroyed – then recreated, page by page and book by book – all in the name of love and art?

Allegorical and imaginative – Ghost Cities will appeal to readers of Jennifer Egan and Italo Calvino.

Siang Lu is the author of Ghost Cities and The Whitewash, and the co-creator of The Beige Index. The Whitewash won the ABIA Audiobook of the Year in 2023 for its audio adaptation, which starred a large and diverse cast of fourteen actors. It also won the Glendower Award for an emerging writer at the Queensland Literary Awards and was shortlisted for a NSW Premier’s Literary Award. In 2023 he was named one of the Top 40 Under 40 Asian-Australians at the Asian-Australian Leadership Awards. Siang holds a Master of Letters from the University of Sydney and has written for film and television for Singapore's Beach House Pictures and Malaysia's Astro network. He is based in Brisbane, Australia, and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. 

Hayley Scrivenor’s internationally published debut novel, Dirt Town, became an instant #1 Australian bestseller in 2022 and has been translated into multiple languages. It won a raft of national and international awards, including an ABIA for General Fiction Book of the Year. Hayley holds a PhD in Creative Writing from the University of Wollongong and lives on Dharawal country. Her second novel will be published in the second half of 2024.


  • Event + Book

    Includes a ticket and copy of Ghost Cities

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