In the spirit of the ‘Desert Island Books’ series at the Sydney Writers’ Festival, the Affirm Press team shares which single book they’d want to take with them if they were castaways on a desert island.


Assuming we aren’t allowed anything boring and practical like Tough Guides: How to Survive on a Desert Island I’d choose Papillon by Henri Charriere to keep me optimistic.


I’d take Hatchet by Gary Paulsen for some handy survival tips.


The Explorer by Katherine Rundell. This gorgeous book about a group of children stranded in the Amazon jungle is full of tips on how to find food, build a raft and survive against the odds. And if it doesn’t help me find my way back to civilisation and a decent bookshop, at least I’ll be stuck with an exciting and heart-warming read.


Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel. There are so many subplots cleverly woven into this story that I could reread it and find something new each time. Plus, it’s all about surviving against the odds in a stark world so it’s almost a Swiss Army knife in book form – mental stimulation and practical survival inspiration sounds like a winning desert island combo.


I’d take Annie Dillard’s essay collection The Abundance to learn from the master of seeing nature anew every day.


The uncut edition of Stephen King’s The Stand. Coming in at 1,152 pages long, it’ll take more than a few days to get through, and each page can be used as kindling to get a fire going.


Being stuck on a desert island is the perfect chance to tackle all the books I’ve ever pretended to have read on dates/at dinner parties, starting with The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera.


I’m on the literary equivalent of a desert island, being the only person to have read the whole of our upcoming memoir The Millionaire Castaway; that would be my no-brainer to take if I was castaway as it’s full of insight, humour and joy, not to mention tips on how not to get eaten by crocodiles.

Catch Affirm Press authors Christian White, Lee Kofman and Gwyn Perkins at the Sydney Writers’ Festival from 29 April to 5 May.