Books and Ideas at Montalto: Alice Bishop
As Australia reels from the trauma of devastating, unprecedented bushfires, many of us have been left searching for the language to process the grief and trauma of what’s been lost – and what the future might look like.
In recent years, writers have tried to articulate some of the questions that remain in the wake of a disaster, and in the shadow of a broader climate crisis. Alice Bishop is among them: her 2019 short story collection, A Constant Hum, offers a series of crystalline and poetic vignettes of heartache, anger and survival after the 2009 Black Saturday fires.
A Constant Hum’s haunting stories are drawn from experience. Bishop grew up in Christmas Hills, and her family home was razed on Black Saturday. Her writing has been widely praised for its stunning detail, and its gripping and attentive language – and, sadly, its renewed immediacy.
Live-streamed from the Wheeler Centre, and hosted by Elizabeth McCarthy, join Alice Bishop for a conversation about regrowth, resilience, and its cost.
Presented in partnership with Montalto. This event was originally scheduled to take place at Montalto; it was held online-only owing to precautions about the coronavirus pandemic.
Alice Bishop grew up in Christmas Hills, a town ravaged by the Black Saturday bushfires. A Constant Hum, her much-anticipated debut, was commended by the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for an Unpublished Manuscript and shortlisted for the Penguin Random House Literary Prize. Stories in the collection won the 2017 Lord Mayor’s Prize and the Rachel Funari Prize.
Elizabeth McCarthy has worked as a producer and presenter in radio for 20 years. She produces the breakfast show at Australia’s biggest independent broadcaster, 3RRR, and reviews books on 3RRR and ABC Radio Melbourne. In 2019 she was the convenor of the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for Fiction, and from 2013–2017 she anchored Triple R’s flagship books and writing show, Multi-Storied.
She regularly interviews writers at live events and public conversations for the Wheeler Centre, Sydney Writers’ Festival, Melbourne Writers Festival, and more. She has previously worked as a music reviewer, and from 2002 – 2006 she was the drummer and co-lyricist for Melbourne swamp-rock grrrl band, The Muddy Spurs.