Dervla McTiernan Meet the Author

5 Mar 2024

International best-selling author Dervla McTiernan returns to Meet the Author to be in conversation with Chris Hammer on her new book What Happened to Nina, an emotional novel of suspense about two families at war with each other. It also reflects on the power of social media to work both for and against victims of crime and their loved ones.

Nina and Simon are the perfect couple. Young, fun and deeply in love. Until they leave for a weekend at his family’s holiday house in Vermont, and only Simon comes home. What has happened to Nina? Nobody knows. Simon’s explanation about what happened in their last hours together doesn’t add up. Nina’s parents push the police for answers, and Simon’s parents rush to protect him. They hire expensive lawyers and a PR firm that quickly ramps up a vicious, nothing-is-off-limits media campaign.

Soon, facts are lost in a swirl of accusation and counter-accusation. Everyone chooses a side, and the story goes viral, fueled by armchair investigators and wild conspiracy theories and illustrated with pretty pictures taken from Nina’s social media accounts. Journalists descend on their small Vermont town, followed by a few obsessive “fans.”

How far will her family go to get the truth? Nina’s family is under siege, but they never lose sight of the only thing that really matters — finding their daughter. Out-gunned by Simon’s wealthy, powerful family, Nina’s parents recognize that if playing by the rules won’t get them anywhere, it’s time to break them.

‘One of the best thrillers I have ever read. An unforgettable and deeply moving read that takes the concept of how far would you go for your child and turns the volume up so high the dial breaks’ Don Winslow

Dervla McTiernan’s debut novel, The Ruin, was a critically acclaimed global bestseller and won the Ned Kelly Award for Best First Fiction and the Davitt Award for Best Adult Fiction. Dervla’s second book, The Scholar and her third, The Good Turn established Dervla as one of Australia’s leading crime fiction writers. Born in County Cork, Ireland Dervla practised as a corporate lawyer for twelve years but is now a full-time writer, living in Western Australia, with her husband and two children.

Chris Hammer’s first book, Scrublands, became an instant bestseller when it was published in 2018. It won the prestigious UK Crime Writers Association John Creasey Award for a debut crime novel in 2019 and has recently been released as a TV series on Stan .Chris’s subsequent novels – Silver (2019), Trust (2020), Treasure & Dirt (2021) The Tilt (2022) , The Seven (2023) – have also been bestsellers.

The vote of thanks will be given by Canberra crime fiction reviewer Anna Creer

This event is in association with Harry Hartog Bookshop. Books will be available for purchase on the evening in the Cultural Centre foyer. Pre-event book signings will be available from 5.30pm, and available again after the event.


Registration is required for this event.

Accessible parking spaces are available around campus should you require them.

To help keep everyone safe, please ensure that you are familiar with, and follow, the advice from ACT Health regarding COVID-19.

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podcast will be made available after the event.

Symposium by University House Wine bar (Shop 13, 152 University Avenue, Acton, which is just next to the Kambri cultural centre) will now be open for dining after meet the author events. Food and wine details at No bookings are necessary.

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