Last weekend, whilst sitting on an idyllic river bank near the Tea Gardens village north of Sydney, my daughter was bitten by a particularly cranky ant. Amid the howling, I noted to a friend, ‘did you know the ants we see are predominantly female?’ She most certainly did and got her information from the same source I had, the sublime Conversations with Richard Fidler.

Who knew ants could be so fascinating? I certainly didn’t.

Keeping an audience actively listening for nearly an hour takes a great deal of skill and Richard Fidler, an author himself and whom you may remember from the hilarious Doug Anthony Allstars, makes it seem effortless.


The topic on any given day could be anything from love, to crime, to fiction, to history, to psychology, to science, to travel, to the arts and yes, the original topic that drew me to the podcast in the first place, books. Lots and lots of books.

The 2017 program started yesterday with best-selling Australian author Kate Forsyth discussing the dark and violent origins of fairy tales.

You can tune in Monday to Friday via local radio or the ABC Radio App at 11.05am, or Radio National at 3pm and 11pm. I subscribe to the podcast through iTunes and you can stay in touch through the official facebook page.

The ABC Shop stock collections on CD for about $25 and individual episodes go back to 2009 on their website.


Here are of some of my recent favourites from 2016 available on iTunes:

  • Author Jeanette Winterson on making peace with the past – 17 Dec 2016
  • Alan Alda on bringing science to the stage – 14 Dec 2016
  • Stan Grant’s Australian dream – 30 Nov 2016
  • Investigating Scientology in Australia: Steve Cannane – 23 Sep 2016
  • Tim Ferguson: why comedy is not just for laughs – 16 Sep 2016
  • Sex and death are at the centre of Krissy Kneen’s recent writing – 2 Sep 2016
  • Kate Forsyth reimagines centuries old stories – 1 Sep 2016
  • Great Australian homicide detective Ron Iddles – 23 Aug 2016
  • The science behind Lisa Genova’s fiction – 17 Aug 2016
  • Alana Valentine on Lindy’s letters of blame, hate – an apology – 2 Aug 2016
  • Alain de Botton questions what we think we know about love – 14 Jul 2016
  • Lynne Kelly: unlocking ancient memory storehouses – 22 Jun 2016
  • Comedian Jean Kittson is tackling the taboos of menopause – 25 May 2016
  • Peter Frankopan on re-mapping the world – 19 May 2016

Happy listening!!