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Ian Hickie in conversation with Jonathan Rosen

You are invited to join us as Professor Ian Hickie talks with Jonathan Rosen about his Award-winning book, The Best Minds – a heartbreaking story of friendship, madness and the tragedy of good intentions.

The book charts the gripping story of Jonathan's childhood best friend, Michael 
Laudor, celebrated as an academic and notorious for the murder of his girlfriend whilst living with schizophrenia.

Jonathan is in Australia for the Adelaide Writers Festival and this is his only Sydney event, proudly hosted by Australians for Mental Health

You can read Alexandra Jacobs' review of Jonathan's book in the New York Times here.

We would love for you to join us at this special event. Please feel free to forward this to friends, family and coworkers who may be interested.


Jonathan Rosen is the author of two novels, Eve’s Apple and Joy Comes in the Morning, and two non-fiction books, The Talmud and the Internet: A Journey Between Worlds and The Life of the Skies: Birding at the End of Nature. His essays and articles have appeared in The New York Times, The New Yorker, The Atlantic, The Wall Street Journal, and numerous anthologies. He lives with his family in New York City. His latest book is The Best Minds. 


Professor Ian Hickie is Co-Director, Health and Policy at The University of Sydney's Brain and Mind Centre. He was an inaugural Commissioner on Australia's National Mental Health Commission (2012-18) overseeing enhanced accountability for mental health reform and suicide prevention, and was awarded the 2021 Australian Mental Health Prize. Professor Hickie is a long-standing supporter of Australians for Mental Health and is now a Patron.


The Best Minds is a novelist's gripping investigation of the forces that led his childhood best friend from academic stardom to the psychiatric hospital where he has lived since killing the woman he loved

When the Rosens moved to New Rochelle, New York in 1973, Jonathan Rosen and Michael Laudor became inseparable. Both children of professors, the boys were best friends and fierce rivals who soon followed each other to Yale University.

Michael blazed through Yale in three years, graduating summa cum laude and landing a top-flight consulting job. Then one day, Jonathan received a devastating call: Michael had suffered a psychotic break and was in the locked ward of a psychiatric hospital.

Diagnosed with schizophrenia, Michael was still in hospital when he learned he'd been accepted to Yale Law School, and living in a halfway house when he decided, against all odds, to enroll. Still battling delusions, he managed to graduate, and after his triumphant story was featured in The New York Times, sold a memoir for a vast sum. Ron Howard bought film rights, completing the dream for Michael and his tirelessly supportive girlfriend Carrie, and Brad Pitt was set to star. But then Michael, in the grip of psychosis, committed a horrific act that made him a front-page story of an entirely different sort.

The Best Minds is Jonathan Rosen's powerful account of an American tragedy, set in the final decades of the American century, an era that coincided with the emptying out of state mental hospitals. It is a story about the bonds of friendship, the price of delusion and the mystery of identity. Tender, funny, and harrowing by turns, The Best Minds is both a beautifully rendered coming of age story and an indictment of the profound neglect of mental illness in our society.

March 11, 2024 at 4:30pm - 6:30pm
Michael Spence Building (F23)
Auditorium 2
University of Sydney
Google map and directions
Chris Gambian ·

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