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2010 Event Media Release - Sydney Opera House Talks

Media Release: Monday, 18 January 2010

Alexander McCall Smith
A C Grayling
Richard Dawkins
Sydney Opera House will present talks by three renowned authors and speakers in February and March. One of the world’s best-loved authors, Alexander McCall Smith, makes a welcome return to Sydney on 5 February; author of more than 20 books and regular BBC radio guest, A C Grayling, speaks on 7 March; and the world’s best-known atheist, Richard Dawkins, talks about his latest book, also on 7 March.

“God, to repeat this point, which ought to be obvious, but isn't, never made a tiny wing in his eternal life." Richard Dawkins, The Greatest Show on Earth
Since 2008, Sydney Opera House has presented some of the world’s great authors, philosophers and artists in a curated series of talks across several venues. Speakers such as Ian McEwan, Tom Stoppard, Alain de Botton, Germaine Greer, Tom Kenneally, Susan Greenfield, Dambisa Moya and Christopher Hitchens have engaged with audiences through free-flowing ideas and question and answer sessions.

Sydney Opera House CEO, Richard Evans said, “Although we are known around the world as the home of great performing arts, there is something at the Opera house for everyone. Our public programs - such as this series of talks – take audiences to the forefront of the exploration and generation of new ideas.”

Celebrated novelist Alexander McCall Smith CBE is the creator of the No.1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series which has sold over a million books in Australia. T\he new novel in the series, The Double Comfort Safari Club, is set for release at the beginning of February. McCall Smith will speak about his life in Edinburgh (he lives on the same street as JK Rowling and Ian Rankin), the Really Terrible Orchestra (he plays shocking oboe) and the comings and goings of of his famous fictional characters. Introduced by Chip Rolley, Artistic Director of the Sydney Writers’ Festival, Alexander McCall Smith will be in conversation with Susan Duncan, author of Salvation Creek. His talk will be followed by questions and book signings.
Presented in association with Sydney Writers Festival, Professor A C Grayling is well-known in the United Kingdom for championing the position of the secular humanist in an increasingly theistic world. In his talk 'Art and Thought’, Grayling revisits the question of the various ways that the arts matter in human life, not least in constituting one of the most important ways that society examines itself and discusses its dilemmas and changes, helps people to confront the opportunities and difficulties of personal life, interprets experience, challenges complacency and stagnant ideas, refreshes the familiar, and makes the new possible. This will be his first visit to Sydney and he will be a keynote speaker at the Global Atheist Conference in Melbourne after his talk at the Opera House.

Also attending the Global Atheist Conference is renowned naturalist and antitheist, Richard Dawkins. Before travelling to Melbourne, he will present a discussion around his latest book, The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution. Following on from his international best-seller, The God Delusion, Dawkins’ latest book reveals his palpable love of the natural world and the essential role that science plays in its interpretation. Although Dawkins has written about evolution before, none of his books discussed the evidence that evolution actually happened. Now he feels that it is more necessary than ever as creationism rises


Alexander McCall Smith 
Concert Hall Friday 5 February 12.30pm $25

A C Grayling 
Opera Theatre Sunday 7 March 12.00pm $25
Richard Dawkins 
Opera Theatre Sunday 7 March 2.00pm $49

Bookings: 02 9250 7777 or 

Media Enquiries: 
Claire Vince (02) 9250 7825 / 0401 711 531 /  


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