Events and Media



I love radio, and have been incredibly fortunate to be invited onto some brilliant shows with searching hosts. Here is a selection.

Here is a conversation with Rachael Kohn and Tony Doherty on The Spirit of Things. It was recorded back when we were just starting to work on The Attachment. Click here to listen.

Gary Bryson, a lifetime atheist, asks whether he has “missed out” on something. One of the people he quizzed was me! Our conversation took place out on South Head at the entrance to Sydney Harbour – a place of deep meaning for me. You can podcast the 30 minute programme by clicking here –

I was on Radio National’s Blueprint for Living in their Spirit of Place segment, talking to Sian Prior, author of the exquisite memoir Shy. You can hear the podcast of our talk by clicking on that blue word back there – the one that says “podcast”!

Take a minute to listen to this amazing programme on BBC radio. Soul Music features the song Gracias A La Vida, and the way it connected and affected people all over the world. My story is a part of it. Such a graced opportunity to give thanks for a legendary artist’s work.

Amanda Smith, producer of The Body Sphere on Radio National, made a wonderful programme about walking. You will LOVE baby’s first steps! And you might recognise the pilgrim voice at the beginning and end of the show. You can podcast/download here.

The Sinning Across Spain episode of Poetica, which was one of my all-time favourite ABC radio shows, can be heard by clicking here.


I’m so proud of this show. It’s a celebration of my friendship with the astounding Kat Stewart. The Truth About Us is a Foxtel programme about double acts and mentorship and…well, love. I was privileged to be a part of it.

This is a link to the extended conversation I had with Monsignor Tony Doherty, which is referenced in the text of The Attachment. It runs for about 100 minutes, and includes the introduction and audience questions.

Here’s a permalink to ABC TV Big Ideas online version of the Byron Bay Writers Festival panel called “It’s Not Easy Being Good”, where I shared the stage with Charlotte Wood, Hannie Rayson and Caroline Baum. About 54 minutes of footage. 

Here is another to a conversation held at the Cervantes Institute in Sydney, in the company of the hilarious and witty Richard Glover.

And here, you can watch me read my piece for My Enduring Love Affair With Writing at the Rotunda event organised by the amazing Bruno Lettieri. Also mentioned in The Attachment!

Radio and podcasty stuff for a quiet moment…

A little bit of print that is not under “Other Writing”…

On Sunday 9th September in the Sydney Sun-Herald, there was a review. Here is a photo!

22 thoughts on “Events and Media

  1. Ailsa.
    I’ve just come home from a wonderful weekend at Airey’s.
    And for fear of sounding like a groupie – you were totally the highlight.
    I stood in the queue for your book, but all sold out!
    Thank you so much for your wit and courage and honesty with all us strangers.
    All the best

  2. Dear Sally,
    What a beautiful message to receive on my homecoming from that extraordinary weekend. Weren’t we lucky to share it? And thank you for your kind comments. I know that Nic is ordering more copies, so hopefully if you can’t find one closer to home, you will consider a spin down to that paradise again! I want to go back just to remind myself of all the wonders. I keep seeing Paul at that piano, and rachel’s light, and Hannie’s smile…and all those wordsmiths…
    SO lucky.
    Thank you for confirming that I wasn’t dreaming, and for your generosity. If this is what it is to have a groupie, I’m in!!
    Happy remembering and reading.

  3. Hi Alisa,
    Just letting you know you have inspired and moved me with your book, Sinning Across Spain. Your honesty, energy & perserverence has been an inspiration. I just finshed reading it for the 2nd time. I hope to do one of the Walks in Spain next year. So thank you, kind regards Karuna

    • Hi back Karuna,
      You have no idea how much you have moved and inspired me with your comment! There are days when I wonder if the book goes into a void, and other days whether I wonder if it has any worth as an offering. Your generosity in seeking me out and giving me such feedback is hugely appreciated – particularly as I sit here doing my tax papers! Something that is guaranteed to make anyone feel a bit reduced. Buen camino with your plans to walk. I have no hesitation in saying that if it calls to you, you will love it. The roads are full of such kindness, and the Spaniards need us to care just now. Gracias, peregrina. xxx

  4. Just heard your interview with Monsignor Doherty on Richard Glover’s program.

    I am amazed and disgusted that you had no comment to make to Monsignor Doherty’s comment that the cover-up behaviour of senior priests from years ago needs to be looked at through a “different lens” from the sharp lens of today.

    I am afraid that senior priests covering-up and “moving on” paedophiles which enabled those paedophiles to rape more children and then moving them on again and again in order to allow them to rape more and more children was always WRONG WRONG WRONG no matter which lens you look through. There is a reason that hiding a serious indictable offence is a serious crime, whether that crime was committed during the 1960s or the 1990s.

    Shame on you for remaining silent.

    • Dear Greg,
      I also believe that the crimes you describe were WRONG WRONG WRONG. Tony certainly does too. We spoke long and hard about it afterwards – before I had read your comment here – and I felt clearer about what he was attempting to say.
      However, if you are interested, Tony would like to write to you about this himself, either on this forum, or to you via email.
      I am sorry you felt disappointed in me.

      • Dear Ailsa
        You are forgiven. I know the interview had run way over and Richard was winding up.
        I want to ask Monsignor Doherty one question about contrition. Real contrition. Is there a single Australian catholic priest who engaged in concealing and “moving on” paedophiles, who has voluntarily come forward and confessed this heinous crime to law enforcement and accepted the legal consequences of committing these crimes? Is there even one? I am sure the answer is that there is none and this goes to the hypocrisy of Cardinal Pell and the other leaders of the Church. It is easy to say sorry if you have no skin in the game. That is not real contrition.
        What do you think?

        • Dear Greg,
          Just a quick note to say that I will respond to this – and show it to Tony – tomorrow. I’ve had two incredibly heavy work days, and so have not had a chance to draw breath. Not avoiding. Just want you to know I’m not ignoring. Hasta pronto.

          • Hi again Greg,
            Tony has sent me this note and asked me to post it for him.

            Dear Greg
            Your mail makes me realize the inadequacy of my comment about ‘different lenses’ on the Glover programme.
            The best I can offer is that I was hurrying to make a point which I think worth making – that saying sorry about an action is seriously inadequate without in some way making a genuine attempt to ‘carry the pain’ that has been inflicted. In the context of the unspeakable destruction of the lives of children, I am still grappling with my own personal confusion and distress as to how to do that.
            To your question ‘ is there a single Australian Catholic priest….who has voluntarily come forward’ I have sadly to admit I know of no-one inside the church, or in any other institution for that matter, who has come forward voluntarily to acknowledge such a crime.
            I have no intention, or appetite, to defend such inaction.
            Ironically, one benefit from this exchange may be that I am left with a deeper appreciation of the argument of the Piper book of what it means ’to carry the sins of others’.
            Tony Doherty

  5. Hi Ailsa

    I heard your interview on Radio National’s Spirit of Things last year and thought “I must read that book”. I purchased it – but it sat for a while – in the pile.
    I’ve just finished it, over the term 1 Easter school holiday break (2014).

    I loved it and walked every step with you – it became my “holiday”.
    ….and thought you’d like to know that it hasn’t fallen into the void.


    • Dear Rose,
      What a beautiful Easter treat to get this message from you. Thanks so much for taking the time to write. I am very very grateful. The book has its life without me, and I’m glad of that, but it is such a treat to hear where it has been and to know about the friends it has made. Thank you. May all your walking be on kind roads.
      Ailsa xxx

  6. amazing book i read it twice before my camino last year with my husband and daughter unfortunately due to health issues we had to finish at Burgos ,but next year we hope to return .It gets in your blood i think and only those who have walked it really understand .
    God bless you especially at this time

    • Dear Fos,
      I didn’t reply! So sorry. Better late than never.
      May you complete your Camino. If it is in the blood, you surely will. On foot. In car. No matter. In your heart is where you walk it.
      Thank you for your kindness.
      Ailsa x

  7. Dear Ailsa,
    I attended your conversation with Tony Doherty at John Garratt Publishing in early 2013 just before I left on my own personal pilgrimage to my birth place in Germany. You kindly signed the book which I bought and asked me to write to you about my journey back ‘home’. Thank you for that invitation. Meeting cousins for the first time and standing on the farm where my mother grew up were truly amazing experiences. I saw your interview with Kat Stewart (who happens to be my niece) and feel very privileged to know her and to have met you. I was saddened to hear of your Peter’s death and offer my deep sympathy. Thank you for writing and sharing your pilgrimage with us. Loved every step of your journey.
    Hope to continue the conversation. I feel that there is much to share.
    Kindest regards,
    Anita Davine

    • Dear Anita,
      How very lovely of you to remember to write. I’m so glad your pilgrimage gave you such insight and restoration and pleasure. What a gift it is to take our life for a walk. And to find family too!
      Yes, Kat is a true gift. I am thankful for her every day.
      Thanks for your condolences about Peter. I give thanks for him too. With every breath.
      Ailsa xx

  8. Hello Ailsa – I love all that you give so generously through your writing – thank you for all the beauty and care you give. I am an aspiring writer and hope to touch lives as you do. I have left it a while as I know it is still raw – I felt wretched for you over the loss of Peter – I hope your walks, many people who care for you and your writing help ease your loss and the wonderful memories sustain you. I heard you on the spirit of things 2013 and sent away for 3 copies of your book immediately which were devoured by my friends and I. In order to retrieve my copy I have just ordered 2 of the smaller editions (can’ wait). I love your blog and all the other glimpses I get of/about you. I live in Perth so I love how you write about our state – so sad I have been away when you came to the Perth Writers Festival – would have loved to come to see/hear you. Anyway have signed up and am now following you so hopefully can one day chat – all the very best and thank you again for your honest and uplifting writing – it has helped me through some very rough times. Blessings to you Ailsa.

    • Dear Leigh,
      What a gift! Thanks so much for all your words and for buying the book repeatedly, and for your wishes. I can’t express how much it means to me that the book can reach out and connect with others. That alone amazes me. But then when someone can enunciate so generously the fact that it has meant something to them, that it has assisted or somehow resonated – well, it is a gift. A big one. During this last time, there have been days when I have felt like there was no purpose – I can still feel that sometimes. So your letter reminds me that if I can trust and try to keep writing, to keep connecting, maybe we can all help each other through.
      You lifted me today with your words.
      Thanks Leigh.
      Buen camino to you, every day….
      Ailsa x

  9. hi back Ailsa – thank you for your gracious reply – you have such a beautiful way with words. Yes your book has been passed around many of my friends and I am going to covet one of the new ones when I take delivery – I have missed it and i am keeping it just for me – I love reading about your new(ish) home and partic your walks – I can see from the blog/FB that many others do too – truly a gift to touch so many people like you do – and can I just say – I know you are in pain – however – the way you are so obviously loved and regarded by all the people that reach out to you – is such a lovely thing to see and I hope it makes you feel less alone. Be kind to yourself and hope to tell you how truly you have inspired me to when I have completed my personal camino (not a walking pilgrimage) – I know it will make you smile. I wish you the kind of walks that you wish for everyone else. xxx leigh

    • Oohhhh, a personal camino….
      They are the only kind. Good luck with it!
      Thanks again Leigh for an abundance of “good medicine”. I am so grateful. A xxx

  10. Dear Ailsa – was thinking today how to describe what you are to so many who reach out to you – a touchstone – I think. what a wonderful gift you give to so many – indeed a priviledge to have such a gift but the way you use it with kindness and compassion and an unselfish sharing – that is the thing that distinquishes you and I know a lot of people comment on your gifts but I am not sure you realise how truly special your gift is. . will write and let you know about my personal camino – I know you will celebrate with me – at the time that ‘marks’ the end but is just really another beginning. so many blessings to you – I hold you in my thoughts as do all who write to you. thank you so much for sharing your self and reaching me when I was lost. thank you also for sharing about your mother and the owl and pussycat – I grew up in country NZ very remote and my mum read that poem to us (as well as the Hobbit) so I was delighted to read of your experience with yours – and even more to learn of the owl and pussycat’s children – wonderful – thank you!! – walk strong Ailsa – your kindred spirits celebrate you. Leigh xxx

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