Skip to main content

Main navigation

It’s a Long Story

A podcast about the moments that made the people who shape our culture

Hear the stories behind the big ideas of some of Sydney Opera House's most influential and acclaimed guests, such as Henry Rollins, Jad Abumrad, Fran Lebowitz, Lindy West, Lionel Shriver and Giulia Enders. Current edition hosted by Edwina Throsby. It’s a Long Story is produced at the Sydney Opera House as part of the Talks and Ideas program. Previous hosts include Emily Nicol, Marc Fennell, Fenella Kernebone, Ann Mossop and Hamish MacDonald.

Latest episodes

Denise Ho

Tuesday 3 November 2020

LGBTQI activist, and Cantopop singer, Denise Ho was a prominent figure in Hong Kong's Umbrella Revolution. Don't miss this exhilarating conversation about politics and resistance to state control. Hosted by Benjamin Law as part of Antidote 2019.

Kimberly Motley

Tuesday 27 October 2020

Not a lot of women get to practice law in Afghanistan, but attorney Kimberly Motley is one of the very few. Raised in a poor, majority black neighbourhood in Milwaukee in America’s midwest, Kimberly has made a career defending particularly difficult cases, and in learning how to navigate the Afghani legal system, she has also developed a unique understanding of inter-cultural approaches to justice. She’s talking to Benjamin Law at Antidote festival in 2019.

Zadie Smith

Tuesday 20 October 2020

When 24 year old Zadie Smith published her debut novel, White Teeth, in 2000, she became an instant literary superstar. Two decades and several more novels, short story and essay collections later, her voice remains every bit as relevant. Never one to follow a trend, her writing has earned a reputation for originality and intellectual independence. Head of Talks and Ideas Edwina Throsby spoke to Zadie Smith when she was visiting the Sydney Opera House in November 2019.

Soraya Chemaly

Tuesday 3 Mar 2020

Feminists get a bad rap for being angry. But what would it be like if women were allowed to embrace their anger? American writer Soraya Chemaly has been calling for this shift for years. A prolific voice on the role of gender in culture and politics,  she has had a long career in media and technology. And, she has encountered a lot to be angry about. Her latest book, Rage Becomes Her is a celebration of female anger. It tackles the highly gendered way our culture regards anger, and questions why angry men are strong but angry women are crazy.

Sohaila Abdulali

Tuesday 25 Feb 2020


Sohaila Abdulali did not want to write a book about her experience of being raped. It was a long time ago and she’d very much moved on with her life. But, after some articles she’d written about it went viral, she did write a book. 'What We Talk About When We Talk About Rape' is an incredible, genre-defying discussion of the troubling ways that rape and sexual violence are experienced and discussed. With no self-pity but much insight and a joyous character, she brings sensible, open thinking to an entirely taboo topic.

Content Warning: this episode of It's A Long Story contains discussion of sexual violence.

Carolin Emcke

Tuesday 18 Feb 2020

How we define ourselves comes from a place of difference. At least that's what Carolin Emcke writes about in her book, How We Desire, which investigates gender and identity. But her own identity? Now that’s more complicated. Emcke has been reporting from war zones since the early 2000s, where she's witnessed and written about some of the most horrific acts humans are capable of. She is a fearless and completely original thinker on all things from the effect that atrocity has on those who are compelled to report upon it, to the ethics of journalism, to what it means to be queer today.

Sarah Smarsh

Tuesday 11 Feb 2020

Sarah Smarsh is the daughter of a teenaged mother, who was the daughter of a teenaged mother, who was the daughter of a teenaged mother. Born into a dirt-poor family in rural Kansas, Smarsh realised young that if she could get educated and not pregnant, she would be able to break the pattern of the women in her family. Her memoir, Heartland, is a wonderful tribute to those women, as well as a proud  insider’s look into a culture that is often mocked, reviled and misunderstood, and a searing critique of a political and economic system that entrenches inequality in America.

Joan Morgan

Tuesday 4 Feb 2020

Joan Morgan grew up in the Bronx alongside a growing hip hop movement in the 1980s. As hip hop became an international cultural phenomenon, Joan Morgan became one of the first women to write about hip hop for magazines. In 1999, Morgan coined the term “hip-hop feminism” in her groundbreaking book When Chickenheads Come Home to Roost which applied a feminist lens to a notoriously sexist genre. More recently, she penned a definitive analysis of The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, to mark the 20th anniversary of that classic, seminal album.


Tina Tchen

Tuesday 28 Jan 2020


Tina Tchen doesn't remember the first time she met the Obamas. But what she does remember is the ground-breaking policies that she worked on with both Barack and Michelle during their time in the White House. The daughter of Chinese immigrants, Tina has forged a top-notch career as a lawyer, activist and advocate, and has been focused on gender equity issues for over three decades, while raising two kids as a single mother.

Adam Liaw

Tuesday 4 June 2019

Adam Liaw understands how Australian families eat. Emigrating to South Australia from Malaysia in the 1980s his childhood was a delicious mix of international cuisines. Adam’s precocious smarts fast-tracked his academic career, and landed him at law school well ahead of schedule. Moving to Japan in his twenties to work at Disney Asia, he was settling into Japanese culture. But everything changed when he applied on a whim for the second season of Masterchef Australia. Ten years, six books and one snow egg later, he now hosts award-winning SBS television series Destination Flavour. His columns and recipes provide a thoughtful culinary perspective and a solid knowledge of what you should put on the table tonight.

Liz Jackson

Tuesday 28 May 2019


When Liz Jackson woke up one morning back in 2012 unable to feel her legs, her life radically changed direction. Diagnosed with a neuromuscular disease, Liz left her successful career in television to become a designer and activist, devoted to improving design for disabled people across the world. Her blog, The Girl with the Purple Cane, and her organisation The Disabled List, brings the unique insights and skills of disabled people and designers into the broader design conversation. 

Yotam Ottolenghi

Tuesday 14 May 2019


It’s hard to remember what we used to cook before Yotam Ottolenghi burst into our culinary consciousness. His brand of colourful, vegetable-based food has transformed kitchens and tables the world over. Born in Jerusalem, Yotam was set to pursue an academic career after completing a master’s degree in comparative literature. However at age 30 he decided to move to London to become a chef, and his future was rewritten. His London restaurants have become cult destinations, his cookbooks are on everyone’s shelves, he’s a TV host, he’s one of the world’s most famous gay dads, and he’s one of the loveliest people you’re likely to meet.