Sydney Writers' Festival | Emma Sky: High hopes and missed opportunities in Iraq



19 May 2016


Walsh Bay, Sydney

It’s not every day a female, civilian, pacifist, liberal Brit becomes chief advisor to the US military in the combat zones of Iraq. The result of Emma Sky’s unique experiences is The Unravelling. "I have encountered many alien cultures on my travels, but none so alien as the US Army," she writes. Her vivid, darkly humorous and deeply personal account of the occupation of Iraq is clear-eyed about events that still affect the world today. Emma spoke to James Brown.


  • Emma Sky
    Director, Maurice R. Greenberg World Fellows Program, Yale University

    Emma Sky was a visitor at the US Studies Centre in 2016. Sky is Director of Yale University's Maurice R. Greenberg World Fellows Program and a Senior Fellow at the Jackson Institute for Global Affairs, where she teaches Middle East politics. She is the author of The Unravelling: High Hopes and Missed Opportunities in Iraq (PublicAffairs, 2015), which was shortlisted for the Samuel Johnson Prize. Sky served as advisor to the Commanding General of US Forces in Iraq from 2007-2010; as advisor to the Commander of NATO’s International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan in 2006; as advisor to the US Security Co-ordinator for the Middle East Peace Process in 2005; and as Governorate Co-ordinator of Kirkuk for the Coalition Provisional Authority, 2003-2004.

  • James Brown
    James Brown
    CEO, Space Industry Association of Australia

    James Brown is CEO of the Space Industry Association of Australia. He was previously a Non-Resident Fellow at the United States Studies Centre.