Winner of the Pulitzer Prize

Sydney Writer’s Festival 2024 x UNSW | Refuge: Viet Thanh Nguyen & Shankari Chandran

The life stories of refugees have all the narrative tropes of myth, replete with world-shattering conflicts, perilous voyages, and courageous heroes who sometimes get to live happily ever after.  
Hosted by refugee law expert and advocate Daniel Ghezelbash, this free event brings together Pulitzer Prize for Fiction-winner Viet Thanh Nguyen (A Man With Two Faces) and Miles Franklin-winner Shankari Chandran (Safe Haven), whose latest books draw on first-person accounts of seeking asylum and illuminate the realities of this all-too-common experience. 
Go beyond the media reports, with these dramatic tales of escape and its aftermath. 

This event is presented by the UNSW Centre for Ideas and Sydney Writers’ Festival. Viet Thanh Nguyen appears thanks to the support of Fiona and Matthew Playfair.


UNSW Sydney is the exclusive university sponsor and proud Premier Partner of the Sydney Writers’ Festival. Featuring UNSW academics and researchers on Sydney Writers’ Festival stages, and events at the UNSW Kensington Campus, this partnership brings together a shared vision of creativity, curiosity and thought leadership. 


Leighton Hall is located inside the John Niland Scientia Building at UNSW Sydney’s Kensington campus. Please note this is a live event only, and will not be available via livestream.  


Wheelchair Access
The closest accessible drop off point to Leighton Hall is via Gate 11, Botany Street. More information on getting there can be found via our interactive accessibility map available here.

Assisted Listening
Leighton Hall utilises hearing assistive technology available. Patrons wishing to use this service must collect a Roger™ inductive neck loop receiver from the venue staff, and this system can be used with a hearing aid or cochlear implant with a T-coil, or with headphones.

This event will be live captioned.

Auslan interpreting services can be provided for selected talks upon request. 

To book and discuss access services, please call the Centre for Ideas on 02 9065 0485 or email


Leighton Hall (John Niland Scientia Building) is easily accessible via public transport and the closest light rail stop is the UNSW High Street (L2 line). For more information please call the Transport Infoline on 131 500 or visit

Free parking is also available in the Botany St Car Park (Gate 11) from 5.30pm. For access to free parking, event patrons must park in the UNSW Permit Holder bays, available on all levels. The Botany St Car Park (Gate 11) parking station is located here.

Paid casual and visitor parking is offered via the CellOPark App and ‘pay by plate meters’ in all other UNSW car parks. For more information head here

Sydney Writer’s Festival 2024 x UNSW | Refuge: Viet Thanh Nguyen & Shankari Chandran 


May 23 2024


6:30 pm - 7:30 pm




John Niland Scientia Building (G19)
John Niland Scientia Building, G19 Library Rd, Kensington NSW 2052
Get your Tickets Here