The Sparrows Of Kabul

Fred Smith In Conversation With Karen Middleton

6:00 PM – 7:30 PM
Members' Dining Room
Museum of Australian Democracy

We all remember the footage: the desperate souls outside Kabul Airport, pushing at the gates  in a last bid for freedom. Aussie diplomat and songwriter, Fred Smith, was there. As the narrative around the Fall of Kabul hardens, he offers a vital, human counterpoint – a first-hand account of those frenetic, final days of the Afghan Republic. 

In a special 90-minute event – exclusive to Canberra Writers Festival – Fred will share this extraordinary story, first in conversation and then in song. Wry, warm-hearted, honest and humane, this is a concert experience you’ll never forget.


FRED SMITH writes songs. Some of them are sad. Some of them are funny. Some of them are sad and funny. Some of them are quite serious. They have melodies and stories you can remember – that stay with you and keep you company. Fred’s songs reflect the world he has seen in what, so far, has been a messy and interesting life. He was the subject of an Australian Story documentary feature about his experiences in Afghanistan and Bougainville. His book, The Dust of Uruzgan, was published by Allen and Unwin.


KAREN MIDDLETON is chief political correspondent for The Saturday Paper and author of two books, An Unwinnable War: Australia in Afghanistan and Albanese: Telling it Straight. Karen has worked in the Canberra press gallery since 1989 and served as its president for four years. An experienced television, radio and newspaper commentator, she appears regularly on the ABC’s Insiders and Network Ten’s The Project. She is a freelance contributor to ABC radio, Monocle 24 Radio UK and Radio New Zealand and is based in Canberra.