Flanagan’s acceptance speech at the 2014 Booker ...

Man Booker Prize winning author Richard Flanagan said he was mystified by a decision by the Perth International Arts Festival (PIAF) to disinvite him to a speaking engagement in the city.

Mr Flanagan, who has recently published his first book since winning the Man Booker Prize in 2014, said he was invited to Perth for a festival umbrella event to be held this week, but the invitation was withdrawn.

He said he was at a loss to explain the reasoning behind the decision.

“Who knows, but in all my time I have never experienced something like that,” he said.

“That you would be invited and then you would be disinvited, and it was suggested that there isn’t an audience for people like me.

“But my experience here in Western Australia is that this per capita is the greatest literary culture in Australia.

“It’s got more writers, more achievements and when I’ve been to your writers’ festival it’s extraordinary [the] audiences, they’re very engaged, informed readers so it seems to me that’s a strange, new type of hostility when you’ve got the top-funded arts body in your state no longer wanting to have writers come and speak to West Australians …

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