Conceived, devised, and produced by Richard Kelly Tipping, Writers Talking is a series of filmed documentary portraits that began in 1984 with funding assistance from the Literature Board of Australia. The impetus for the project was Tipping's low-budget documentary about/interview with Roland Robinson, produced with funding from the Australia Council. The Literature Board, including then director Thomas Shapcott, liked the results and made further funding available for Tipping to interview Les Murray. Later that year, he interviewed David Malouf in Tuscany while taking up a Literature Board studio in Italy and, during a stay in England in 1985, interviewed and filmed Peter Porter (London) and Randolph Stow (Harwick). He shortly afterwards travelled to the United States and undertook two more interviews, with Sumner Locke Elliott (New York) and Jack Lindsay (Cambridge, Massachusetts). However, a lack of interest (and support) from the ABC saw the project collapse shortly afterwards, and the final two films were not completed.
The five completed films (Robinson, Murray, Malouf, Porter, and Stow) were eventually published by Artwrite Pictures and distributed as a video package through AFI Distributions. The negative masters of the Porter, Stow, Elliott, and Lindsay interviews are held in the National Film and Sound Archive (NFSA) in Canberra. Film rushes from an interview with A. D. Hope (along with those of Robinson, Murray, and Malouf) are held by the Library of the Australian Defence Force Academy, as are off-cuts and additional materials not accepted in the collecting policy of the NFSA.