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Abraham Verghese: The Covenant of Water

23 May 2024
5.00pm – 6.00pm AEST
Carriageworks Bay 20, The ARA Stage
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Roanna Gonsalves and Abraham Verghese

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Roanna Gonsalves | Abraham Verghese

Physician and writer Abraham Verghese, author of Cutting for Stone, crafts a masterly narrative of three generations of a family in Kerala, through the eyes of a young girl, from her arranged marriage at the turn of the 20th century to her emergence as the matriarchal figure Big Ammachi.

Solving the mystery of a family affliction – in every generation, at least one person dies by drowning – the book brings to life a vanished past and the impact of change on lives and communities. 

Examine the marriage of medicine and literature with Abraham, joined by host Roanna Gonsalves.

This event is presented by the Sydney Writers' Festival and supported by UNSW Sydney and ARA. 


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. 


Ticket Prices*
Adult – $40
Concession – $35
Wheelchair User – $35

*plus booking fees

Venue Information
This event will take place live at Carriageworks. For all venue and visitor safety information, please visit Sydney Writers' Festival.


Wheelchair Access
All Festival venues are accessible, and provide wheelchair and level access. To book accessible seats at Carriageworks, please contact the Sydney Writers' Festival Box Office on 02 9256 4200 or email

Accessible Parking
Accessible parking is available at Carriageworks. Please call 02 8571 9099 for more information.


Carriageworks is located at 245 Wilson Street, Eveleigh. This is a 10 minute walk from Redfern Station, City Road bus stops and Macdonaldtown Station. Catching public transport is strongly recommended as residential parking in the area is strictly limited, and the Sydney Writers' Festival offers shuttle bus services from Redfern Station at selected times. For more information on transport, visit or visit,



Sydney Writers' Festival
For all event enquiries, contact the Sydney Writers' Festival on 02 9256 4200 or email

UNSW Centre for Ideas
For all other enquiries, contact the UNSW Centre for Ideas on 02 9065 0485 or email

National Relay Service
The UNSW Centre for Ideas and Sydney Writers' Festival are happy to receive phone calls via the National Relay Service. TTY users, phone 133 677, then ask for the applicable organisations phone number (listed above). Speak and Listen users, phone 1300 555 727 then ask for applicable organisations phone number (listed above). Internet relay users, visit, then ask for applicable organisations phone number (listed above). 

Abraham Verghese

Abraham Verghese

Abraham Verghese is a graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop and the author of books including My Own Country and The Tennis Partner. His most recent novel, The Covenant of Water, was selected for Oprah’s Book Club and has spent six months on The New York Times bestseller list. His 2009 novel, Cutting for Stone, sold more than 1.5 million copies in the US alone. It was translated into more than twenty languages and is being adapted for film by Anonymous Content. Abraham was awarded the National Humanities Medal in 2016, has received five honorary degrees and lives and practices medicine in Stanford, California where he is the Linda R. Meier and Joan F. Lane Provostial Professor and Vice Chair of the Department of Medicine at the Stanford University School of Medicine.

Roanna Gonsalves

Roanna Gonsalves

Roanna Gonsalves is an award-winning writer and educator with an interdisciplinary practice. She is the author of the critically acclaimed collection of short fiction, The Permanent Resident. Her series of radio documentaries about contemporary India, On the tip of a billion tongues, and her social-satirical radio essay Doosra: The life and times of an Indian student in Australia were commissioned and broadcast by ABC RN. She works as a Lecturer in Creative Writing at UNSW Sydney.