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Essential reading for Antidote 2019

Brush up on your current affairs with our Antidote reading list

Susie Anderson
Sydney Opera House

ANTIDOTE is here. To mark its return, we've created a special episode of It’s a Long Story, unpacking some of the people and ideas you can expect to meet at the festival. Now you can dive even deeper into our 2019 lineup, with this handy reading list.

On the Other Side of Freedom:
The Case for Hope

DeRay Mckesson

The lowdown: 
In August of 2014, twenty nine year old activist DeRay Mckesson stood with hundreds of others on the streets of Ferguson, Missouri to push a message of justice and accountability. These protests, and others like them in cities across the country, resulted in the birth of the Black Lives Matter movement. Now, in his first book, Mckesson lays out the intellectual, pragmatic political framework for a new liberation movement.

Michel Martin, host of NPR Weekend All Things Considered, says:
“DeRay Mceesson offers a theology of hope that can be understood and embraced even by people who are not religious.”

First, They Erased Our Name


The lowdown:
For the first time, a Rohingya speaks up to expose the truth behind this global humanitarian crisis. Through the eyes of a child, we learn about the historic persecution of the Rohingya people and witness the violence Habiburahman endured throughout his life until he escaped the country in 2000. First, They Erased Our Name is an urgent, moving memoir about what it feels like to be repressed in one’s own country and a refugee in others.

Jonathan Miller, Foreign Affairs Correspondent at Channel 4 News, says:
“The gripping, chilling inside story of the incubation of a genocide... Habib’s moving family history emerges as a powerful and, to my knowledge, unique historical document.” 


‘The Media and the Mueller Report’s March Surprise’

Steve Coll

The lowdown:
Staff writer for the New Yorker, former managing editor of Washington Post and current Dean of Columbia Journalism school, Steve Coll has multiple prizes and books to his name. A specialist reporter on America’s involvement in the Middle East, he’s all about ethical, rigorous and truthful reporting. Steve’s approach to journalism is essential in a media age that encourages fake news and conspiracy theories, no more evident than in his New Yorker piece on the media’s role in and around The Mueller Report.

Coll says:
“In an age of distraction, many Americans now get their news from social media. At the same time, Facebook and Google have broken the advertising models on which newspapers and digital newsrooms previously relied.”


‘Investigation: Does The Incredibly Hot Food Guy From Queer Eye Even Know How To Cook?’

Patrick Lenton

The lowdown:
Patrick Lenton’s investigation into Antoni Porowski from Netflix’s Queer Eye almost broke the internet in 2018. He asked the question we’ve all been thinking: can this beautiful Canadian man actually cook? It’s this kind of cutting cultural commentary that has placed Patrick at the centre of our panel Because Self Care, where the positive aspects of binge culture will come under his eagle eye with Zing Tsjeng and Bridget Delaney.

Lenton says:
“Before joining Queer Eye, Antoni said in an interview with Eater that he worked as a ‘waiter, sommelier, general manager, and even a food consultant in New York City’. All of those are definitely involved with food in some way – I could believe that he definitely SAW and EXPERIENCED food in his day-to-day life, but none of those jobs actually involve cooking.”


Mada Masr

Lina Attalah

The lowdown:
Responding to the politically charged environment that was Egypt in 2013, Mada Masr is a Cairo based media organisation publishing independent journalism in both English and Arabic. Lina Attalah is the website’s chief editor, and together with her Mada colleagues is ushering in the future of honest journalism across the Arab world.

Lina Attalah says:
“I don’t like a definition of citizenship that’s limited to rights only; I think that civic engagement and political agency are part and parcel of citizenship”


Maria Ressa

The lowdown:
Filipino journalist Maria Ressa co-founded Rappler in 2012 with a view to create an online platform where citizens could participate in journalism. A combination of reporting and social media, Rappler is now a thriving hub of much needed independent news and opinion across the Philippines and Indonesia.

Maria Ressa, in her commencement speech at Columbia Journalism school, says:
“When people ask me where I find courage, I’m puzzled, because I’m not doing anything different from what I’ve always done. Yes, we have a lot more problems, a lot more attacks and yes, being arrested is a new experience that I wish I didn’t have to go through. But journalism is not a crime, and now more than ever our societies need journalists with purpose and with mission.”

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Cheat sheet: DeRay Mckesson

Ahead of his appearance at Antidote, here are the essential things you need to know about influential activist and friend of the stars, Deray Mckesson.


Cheat sheet: Deborah E. Lipstadt

Study up on famed historian Deborah E. Lipstadt ahead of her much-anticipated appearance at ANTIDOTE.


Cheat sheet: Habiburahman

Meet the man who has escaped torture, persecution, and detention in his own country ahead of his talk at Antidote, and find out what you need to know about this growing global humanitarian crisis.