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.
Robyn Annear is a history writer and Castlemaine local legend. Her books include Bearbrass: Imagining Early Melbourne, Nothing 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
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.
It’s two hundred years since Jane Austen died at the age of only 41. The bicentenary will be commemorated all year with events, conferences, festivals and of course books.
We spoke to two writers about Austen’s legacy and her influence on them – and on so many of us.
Alison Goodman’s most recent novel is The Dark Days Pact, the second in the Lady Helen trilogy of supernatural Regency adventures. The first book, The Dark Days Club, was an NPR Best Book of 2016, and the third volume is on the way.
Alison is also the author of the award winning and New York Times bestselling duology EON and EONA, Singing the Dogstar Blues and an adult thriller, A New Kind of Death.
You can read about Alison’s Regency research on her website.
Kylie Mirmohamadi is a researcher at La Trobe University who specialises in cultural and literary studies. She has written extensively on literary sensations from Lady Audley’s Secret to Dickens to Harry Potter.
Her book The Digital Afterlives of Jane Austen: Janeites at the Keyboard, looks at the world of online Jane Austen fan fiction.
Jane Austen was born in 1775 and her first novel, Sense and Sensibility, was published in 1811, followed in quick succession by Pride and Prejudice (1813), Mansfield Park (1814) and Emma (1815). Two other novels, Northanger Abbey and Persuasion, were published posthumously.
Jennifer Ehle as Lizzy and David Bamber as Mr Collins in the 1995 series of Pride and Prejudice
Austen 200 events include:
What does it take to recreate past worlds? How does a writer uncover the reality she needs to blend with imagination? Where do research and writing intersect?
We talk to two writers who’ve spent years researching and writing novels about the lives of real women from the past: Hannah Kent and Kate Mildenhall.
About our guests
Hannah Kent’s first novel, Burial Rites, was an international bestseller and has been translated into 28 languages. It won the ABIA Literary Fiction Book of the Year, the Indie Awards Debut Fiction Book of the Year and the Victorian Premier’s People’s Choice Award, and was shortlisted for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award and the Bailey’s Prize.
Her second novel, The Good People, is just out in Australia and New Zealand will be published in 2017 in the UK, Ireland and North America.
Hannah is also the co-founder and publishing director of Australian literary journal, Kill Your Darlings.
Kate Mildenhall is a teacher and writer – she has taught in schools and universities, and worked at the State Library of Victoria, creating web content for students and teachers.
Kate is studying Professional Writing and Editing at RMIT University.
Her first novel, Skylarking, has just been published.
Burial Rites and The Good People are published by Picador (Macmillan) in Australia, New Zealand, the UK and Ireland, and Little, Brown in the US. Skylarking is published by Black Inc in Australia and New Zealand, and will be published by Legend Press in the UK in 2017.