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Richard Fidler

Richard Fidler (born 1964), an Australian writer and radio broadcaster with ABC Radio, is currently writing a history of Prague, from the 9th century to the present day, which will include the weeks he spent in Prague during the Velvet Revolution.

Richard Fidler wrote two long-form histories, fused with personal experience and mythology. Although he majored in history and politics at university, it was only while touring the world in the back of a tour van that he began to read history closely; starting out with the 20th century and working his way backwards. In 1989–90 he was present in Berlin and Prague for the fall of communism, and was swept up in the revolutionary energy of the times.

Ghost Empire, published 2016, ABC Books/HarperCollins (Australia) and Pegasus Books (US), is a history of Constantinople and the Byzantine Empire, seen through the lens of a journey with his son into modern day Istanbul.

The best-seller Ghost Empire is a rare treasure – an utterly captivating blend of the historical and the contemporary, narrated by a master storyteller. The story is a revelation: a beautifully written ode to a lost civilization combined with a warmly observed father-son adventure far from home. In 2014, Richard Fidler and his fourteen-year-old son Joe made a journey to Istanbul. Fired by Richard's passion for the rich history of the dazzling Byzantine Empire – centred around the legendary Constantinople – we are swept into some of the most extraordinary tales in history. The clash of civilizations, the fall of Empires, the rise of Christianity, revenge, lust, murder. Turbulent stories from the past are brought vividly to life at the same time as a father navigates the unfolding changes in his relationship with his son.

Ghost Empire achieved the shortlists of the 2017 Australian Indie Book Award, and the 2017 Australian Booksellers Association Nielsen Booksellers Choice Award.

Saga Land, published 2017 in ABC Books/HarperCollins (Australia), co-written with Kári Gíslason, is the story of the Viking sagas of Iceland. Together, Richard and Kári travel across Iceland, to the places where the sagas unfolded a thousand years ago. They cross fields, streams and fjords to immerse themselves in the folklore of this fiercely beautiful island. And there is another mission: to resolve a longstanding family mystery – a gift from Kári's Icelandic father that might connect him to the greatest of the saga authors.

As part of Prague residency from Prague City of Literature, Richard Fidler is going to write a history of the city of Prague, which will interweave history with personal stories and some of the city’s myths and legends.

Richard reveals: “I've already completed an introductory chapter on the weeks I spent in Prague during the Velvet Revolution, and how that experience altered the course of my life. I've also conducted an extensive interview with a Czech-Australian musician who was a human rights activist during the Prague Spring, and who fled after the Soviet invasion. My plan is to begin with the city's foundation stories, placing the archaeological and documentary evidence alongside its vivid legends. From there I plan to follow its history till the present times.”

And he adds to his upcoming stay in Prague: “The recurrent theme will be to examine Prague as a central European city of political and cultural ferment, swinging wildly between periods of great freedom and terrible constraint.”

Richard Fidler presents Conversations, an in-depth, up close and personal interview program broadcast across Australia on ABC Radio. He's interviewed prime ministers, astronauts, writers and scientists, but the program often features remarkable people who are unknown to the wider world. The program is the most popular podcast in Australia, with over a million downloaded programs every month. In December 2015, Conversations was named by iTunes Australia as 2015's Best Classic Podcast and Most Downloaded Podcast. So was it in 2016–2018.

In 2011, Fidler was awarded a Winston Churchill Fellowship to investigate new forms of public radio in the New York City and London.

In 1980s and early 1990s, Richard was a member of Australian comedy trio The Doug Anthony Allstars (DAAS), which played to audiences all over the world: from the West End of London, to the streets of Paris and New York, to isolated mining towns in outback Australia.

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