15. On knowledge

In our first live recording, at the Castlemaine State Festival, we asked two authors of nonfiction how they research complex subjects, manage their materials, and create compelling stories.

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Our guests

Robyn Annear is a history writer and Castlemaine local legend. Her books include Bearbrass: Imagining Early MelbourneNothing But Gold: The diggers of 1852, The Man Who Lost Himself: The Unbelievable Story of the Tichborne Claimant, and Fly a Rebel Flag: The Eureka Stockade. Her book A City Lost and Found: Whelan the Wrecker’s Melbourne grew out of a State Library Victoria Creative Fellowship. Robyn was also guest curator of the State Library’s exhibition Naked democracy: governing Victoria 1856-2006.

Lynne Kelly is a science writer with a background in engineering, physics, mathematics, information technology and gifted education. Her most recent book, The Memory Code and its academic counterpart, Knowledge and Power in Prehistoric Societies: orality, memory and the transmission of culture, explore oral traditions and the concept of memory spaces. Lynne has written fourteen science books, particularly for school-age readers, and a novel, Avenging Janie. Her most popular science titles include The Skeptic’s Guide to the Paranormal, Crocodile and Spiders.

Robyn Annear’s beloved Bearbrass and A City Lost and Found have recently been republished by Black Inc. Lynne Kelly’s The Memory Code is published by Allen & Unwin.

Our thanks to Castlemaine State Festival for inviting us to be part of the festival, and to our fabulous audience.

Disclosure in the spirit of historical accuracy: Kelly was possibly over-excited to be told she was appearing on the same stage as Lola Montez, having recently written Madame Montez’s dramatic performance on the Goldfields into a short story, but got the year wrong in the heat of the moment. It was 1856, not 1857. The original timber Theatre Royal in Castlemaine burned down in 1887, so it’s not exactly the same stage. But we’re just going with it.

Robyn Annear's Shoebox

Robyn Annear’s shoebox

On stage at the Theatre Royal (from left): Adele, Lynne, Robyn and Kelly. And Robyn’s famous shoe box.  The ghost of Lola Montez lurks unseen behind us. Photo by Lisa D’Onofrio. 

10. On rebellion

How did you rebel? We talk to two writers of fiction and creative nonfiction about the role of rebellion in creativity, and the writers’ life.

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About our guests

Book cover - Dangerous BrideBorn in Russia, Lee Kofman is the author of five books. She has published three novels in Hebrew, and her first book in English was The Dangerous Bride, a memoir about non-monogamy and migration.
Lee has also published numerous short stories, short creative non-fiction and poetry, and her writing has won various awards. She teaches writing and mentors writers.

 

 

 

Lee is the co-editor (with Maria Katsonis) of a new anthology of memoir called Rebellious Daughters. One of the contributors to Rebellious Daughters is Silvia Kwon.

Book Cover - The Return
Silvia was born in Seoul, South Korea. She migrated to Australia at the age of nine and grew up in Perth. After studying art history at the University of Western Australia, she worked in community arts before deciding to move to Melbourne to pursue a career in publishing. She has worked at Oxford University Press and Black Inc.

Her first novel, The Return, was published in 2014.

 

 

Rebellious Daughters is published by Ventura Press.

Book cover - Rebellious daughters

 

3. On editing

Historian Clare Wright and editor Mandy Brett talk us through the collaborative process of creating a book – in this case, the award-winning The Forgotten Rebels of Eureka.

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(If you’re on a mobile device, use iTunes, Audioboom or your favourite podcast app.)

About our guestsBook cover, Forgotten Rebels

Dr Clare Wright is an award-winning historian, author and broadcaster. Her first book was a best-seller, Beyond the Ladies Lounge: Australia’s Female Publicans

In 2013, Clare released her second book, The Forgotten Rebels of Eureka, following years of research into women’s roles in one of the key moments in colonial Australian politics, the Eureka Stockade. It won the 2014 Stella Prize and was shortlisted for the Prime Minister’s Literary Awards and just about every other award going. We Are the Rebels, a young adult version of The Forgotten Rebels of Eureka, was published in 2015.

Clare’s essays have have appeared in The Age, Crikey, The Guardian, The Conversation, and Meanjin as well as leading international scholarly journals. She researched, co-wrote and presented the acclaimed television documentaries, Utopia Girls: How Women Won the Vote and The War That Changed Us.

Clare is a Principal Research Fellow in History at La Trobe University.

 

Mandy Brett’s distinguished editing career began as an editor and publisher at IAD Books, an Book cover We are the Rebels
Aboriginal publishing house in Alice Springs, producing a wide range of titles in fiction, education, reference and dictionaries. She has worked as a freelance editor, as a production editor on a small magazine and, for a number of years, as a computer programmer at Penguin Books.

Mandy is now a senior editor with Text Publishing, where she has been since 2002, working on both fiction and non-fiction titles, including any number of bestselling books such as Toni Jordan’s novels and more recently Magda Szubanski’s memoir Reckoning. Her essays and speeches have appeared in Meanjin, Bookseller & Publisher, and Crikey.

She is a guest lecturer in fiction editing at RMIT.

 

The Forgotten Rebels of Eureka and We are the Rebels are published by Text.

1. On story

Vivian Gornick and Sian Prior are both journalists and memoir writers. We brought them together to talk about how nonfiction writers work with memory, imagination and language, and finding the story in a situation.

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(If you’re on a mobile device, use iTunes, Audioboom or your favourite podcast app.)

About our guestsPhoto of Vivian Gornick

Vivian Gornick grew up in the Bronx, and began her writing career as a journalist with the Village Voice in 1969, an early chronicler of the feminist movement.

Her ­books include a guide to writing personal narrative, The Situation and the Story, and two collections of essays: Approaching Eye Level and The End of the Novel of Love.

But she is probably best known for her memoirs: Fierce Attachments, about her childhood and her difficult relationship with her ­mother; and the recent The Odd Woman and the City.

 

 

Photo of Sian Prior

Image James Mepham

Sian Prior is a singer, writer and broadcaster, working in radio, television, print and online, specialising in reporting on the arts and popular culture.

She has been a newspaper columnist, a
travel and opinion writer, and a theatre, opera and book critic. She writes fiction and nonfiction, and also teaches writing.

Her first book, Shy: A Memoir, was published in 2014.

 

 

 

Sian Prior’s book, Shy: a memoir, is published by Text.  

Vivian Gornick’s The Odd Woman and the City is published by Nero Books in Australia, and Farrar, Strauss and Giroux in the US.

Book cover: Vivian Gornick

Sian Prior Shy cover