A Gala Night of Storytelling: John Safran
On Saturday February 13, on the anniversary of the Federal Government’s apology to the Stolen Generations, the Wheeler Centre presented a night of celebration and reflection, sharing the common and different experiences that define our past and our present.
Twelve of Australia’s best writers came together at Melbourne Town Hall for an intimate night of storytelling, each reflecting on those tales that have been handed down to them through the generations, each giving voice to an inheritance of wisdom, of understanding, of identity.
This is John Safran’s story.
John Safran is an award-winning documentary-maker of provocative and hilarious takes on race, the media, religion and other issues.
John first hit TV screens in 1997 on Race Around the World (ABC TV). Both John Safran's Music Jamboree (SBS, 2002) and John Safran vs. God (SBS, 2004) won Australian Film Industry awards for Best Comedy Series and Most Original Concept, and were also nominated for Logie Awards.
Other shows include John Safran's Race Relations (ABC TV, 2009), which was nominated for two awards at the prestigious Rose d'Or Festival in Switzerland, and Speaking in Tongues (SBS, 2005–6). John also co-hosted Sunday Night Safran, a radio talk show on Triple J with cranky but beloved Catholic priest, Father Bob Maguire.
Paul Kelly has recorded over 25 albums, several film soundtracks and published a self-described ‘mongrel memoir’, How To Make Gravy, in an influential career spanning four decades. He was inducted into the ARIA Hall of Fame in 1997. In 2017, he was appointed as an officer of the Order of Australia His latest release is ‘Nature’.
Chloe Hooper’s The Tall Man: Death and Life on Palm Island (2008) won the Victorian, New South Wales, West Australian and Queensland Premier’s Literary Awards, as well as the John Button Prize for Political Writing, and a Ned Kelly Award for crime writing. Her latest book is The Arsonist: A Mind on Fire (2018). She is also the author of two novels, A Child’s Book of True Crime and The Engagement.
John Marsden has written more than 40 books, mostly for teenagers and children, including Tomorrow When the War Began, So Much to Tell You, and Letters from the Inside. He has sold over five million books worldwide, and has won every major award in Australia for young people's fiction. South of Darkness, written for adults, won the Christina Stead Award for Best Novel of 2015. John's passionate interest in education led him to start two schools, Candlebark, on a vast forested estate near Romsey Victoria, and Alice Miller, at Macedon, a Year 7-12 school with a particular emphasis on the creative arts. The two schools enrol 380 students in 2019.
Judith Lucy is one of Australia’s most popular comedians. A best-selling author, her work in radio, television and film and her sell-out national live tours have made her a household name.
Tara June Winch is a Wiradjuri author, born in Australia in 1983 and based in France.
Her first novel, Swallow the Air was critically acclaimed. She was named a Sydney Morning Herald Best Young Australian Novelist, and has won numerous literary awards for Swallow the Air. A 10th Anniversary edition was published in 2016.
Christos Tsiolkas is the author of six novels, including Loaded, which was made into the feature film Head-On, The Jesus Man and Dead Europe, which won the 2006 Age Fiction Prize and the 2006 Melbourne Best Writing Award, as well as being made into a feature film. His fourth novel, the international bestseller The Slap, won Overall Best Book in the Commonwealth Writers' Prize 2009, was shortlisted for the 2009 Miles Franklin Literary Award, longlisted for the 2010 Man Booker Prize and won the Australian Literary Society Gold, as well as the 2009 Australian Booksellers Association and Australian Book Industry Awards Books of the Year. Christos's fifth novel Barracuda was shortlisted for the ALS Gold Medal and the inaugural Voss Literary Prize. The Slap and Barracuda were both adapted into celebrated television series. Christos's acclaimed collection of short stories, Merciless Gods, was published in 2014 and his critical literary study On Patrick White came out in 2018. He is also a playwright, essayist and screen writer. He lives in Melbourne.
David Malouf is the author of short story collections The Complete Stories (winner of the Australia Asia Literary Award), Dream Stuff and Every Move You Make, and of acclaimed novels including The Great World (winner of the Commonwealth Writers’ and Miles Franklin Prizes) and Remembering Babylon (shortlisted for the Booker Prize and winner of the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award).
Alexis Wright is a member of the Waanyi nation of the Gulf of Carpentaria and the renowned author of the prize-winning novels Carpentaria and The Swan Book. Her most recent book, Tracker, was awarded the 2018 Stella Prize. She holds the Boisbouvier Chair in Australian Literature at the University of Melbourne.
Alex Miller is one of Australia’s best loved writers. He is twice winner of the prestigious Miles Franklin Literary Award, Australia’s premier literary prize, the first occasion in 1993 for The Ancestor Game, and again in 2003 for Journey to the Stone Country.
Born in Hamilton in western Victoria in 1953, Shane Maloney is one of Australia’s most popular novelists. His award-winning and much-loved Murray Whelan series – Stiff, The Brush-Off, Nice Try, The Big Ask, Something Fishy and Sucked In – has been published around the world.
Cate Kennedy is the author of the highly acclaimed novel The World Beneath, which won the People’s Choice Award in the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards in 2010. She is an award-winning short-story writer whose work has been published widely.