24th - 26th August 2018
Power, Politics, Passion

James Phelan

James Phelan is the bestselling and award-winning author of 28 novels and one work of non-fiction. From his teens he wanted to be a novelist and he started his first novel aged 15. After high school he first tried his hand at a real job, studying and working in architecture before turning to English literature, spending five years at The Age newspaper, while obtaining an MA in Writing, and a PhD in Young Adult Literature.

His first published book was Literati (John Wiley & Sons), a series of interviews with Australia’s top literary figures. This lead to several publishers offering James publication for his fiction, and he signed with Hachette, who have published the 5-book Lachlan Fox geo-political thriller series, the Alone trilogy of Young Adult post-apocalyptic novels, and the 6-book Jed Walker series of suspense thrillers. James has also written a 13-book adventure series for Scholastic, titled The Last Thirteen. This series, described as “The Famous Five meets Indiana Jones,” has won many Australian kids-choice awards.

James has been a full-time novelist since the age of 25, and spends his time writing thrilling stories and talking about them. As a highly sought after speaker across all education levels, James has spoken at festivals, schools, and universities all over the world. Each year James spends three months talking at schools in the USA. He is currently working on a Middle Grade series of funny illustrated novels, some picture books, suspense thrillers, and a follow-up to The Last Thirteen. James has sold over 4 million copies world-wide.


Canberra Writers Festival events

Crime: Reacher said Nothing
Andy Martin in conversation with James Phelan

Join Dr Andy Martin, lecturer at Cambridge, and thriller writer James Phelan, as they discuss the genius of Lee Child, the enduring appeal of Jack Reacher, and give a glimpse into the thriller writing process.

Saturday 26th August 2017, 2:00pm. Terrace Room, National Portrait Gallery.
Tickets: Adult $24.00; Concession $21.95; Junior $11.75 


Gabrielle Williams & James Phelan
in conversation with Tom Gibson

Meet Gabrielle Williams and James Phelan as they talk about the importance of connection – both online and offline – and how the internet has changed how they write and publish books.

Sunday 27th August 2017, 2:00pm. Library Theatre, National Library of Australia.
Tickets: Adult $24.00; Concession $21.95; Junior $11.75


Canberra Writers Festival Events - Host

Crime: Seasons in the Abyss
Tim Watson-Munro in conversation with James Phelan.

If you’re known by the company you keep, criminal psychologist Tim Watson-Munro - aka “Doc” - would be mad, bad and truly dangerous after assessing more than 20,000 'persons of interest' in some of Australia’s most notorious court cases.

Sunday 27th August, 12pm. Conference Room, Level 4, National Library of Australia.
Tickets: Adult $24.00; Concession $21.95; Junior $11.75


About the book

'A terse, tense brand of hard-boiled action suspense ...addictive.' THE AGE 

In war-torn Syria, a massacre survivor is pulled from beneath a pile of bodies. She is given one instruction: 'Find Jed Walker.' Walker is ex-CIA - a man who thought he was long out of the game. Discovering a terror outfit is running people-smuggling from the Middle East and into the United States, he is drawn back in to fight their evil trade. At first Walker thinks these human traffickers are driven purely by profit and greed. But it is much worse than that - and it has ties to the highest levels of power. 

As the body count rises, and deadly enemies stalk from the shadows, Walker uncovers the shocking truth behind an operation intended to bring America to its knees. As he attempts to make things right, Jed Walker will learn the true cost of life - and pay a devastating price.

'Jed Walker is right there in Reacher's rear-view mirror.' LEE CHILD

Dark Heart is published by Hachette Australia.

Buy the book from the festival's bookshop partner Dymocks.


More reading

Official website of James Phelan.

on Instagram: instagram.com/realjamesphelan

Author Q&A: James Phelan on Dark Heart, Better Reading interview, February 2017.

Book trailer for THE LAST THIRTEEN. [video]

Review: Dark Heart, Sydney Morning Herald, February 2017.


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