Italy’s 29-year-old rising literary star Viola Di Grado has bowled over fans with her captivating prose, vivid imagination and muses that tend along tragic lines. Her first novel, 70% Acrylic, 30% Wool, won Italy’s Premio Campiello Opera Prima and was shortlisted for the Strega Prize. In her second novel, Hollow Heart, a girl’s ghost tells the story of her life after her suicide. Hollow Heart was a finalist in the PEN America Literary Awards. Catch Viola in conversation with Lex Hirst.

Supported by Istituto Italiano di Cultura, Sydney.

Lex Hirst (Australian)

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Lex Hirst is a commissioning editor for Penguin Random House, a festival director and arts programmer driven by a love of great writing and exciting ideas. A previous co-director of the National Young Writers’ Festival, she is a SAMAG committee member and curator for’s Junket unconference. She is always on the lookout for brilliant new voices and stories that will blow her out of the water.