Books and Ideas at Montalto
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Kate Grenville is one of Australia’s most treasured writers. Her novels are internationally acclaimed: The Idea of Perfection won the Orange Prize in 2001 and her breakout bestseller The Secret River fired up debates on the uses of historical fiction – and the role novelists can play – in highlighting past injustices. The New York Times called it ‘exuberant, cruel, surprising, a triumphant evocation of a period and a people filled with both courage and ugliness’.
Her latest book combines her interest in the past with an enquiry into the personal: an intimate account of her mother’s life, drawing on the fragments of memoir she left behind. In many ways, Nance’s story echoes that of many mothers and grandmothers, for whom the spectacular shifts of the twentieth century offered a path to new freedoms and choices. In other ways, her story was exceptional: in an era when women were expected to have no ambitions beyond the domestic, she ran successful businesses as a registered pharmacist, laid the bricks for the family home, and discovered her husband’s secret life as a revolutionary.
Join Grenville in conversation with fellow writer Melissa Lucashenko as they explore the personal history of one of our most popular – and acclaimed – historical novelists, and reflect on how the life and times of this one woman both mirrored and defied what was happening for Australian women.
Kate Grenville is one of Australia’s most celebrated writers. Her bestselling novel The Secret River received the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize, and was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize and the Miles Franklin Literary Award. The Idea of Perfection won the Orange Prize. Grenville’s other novels include Sarah Thornhill, The Lieutenant, Lilian’s Story, Dark Places and Joan Makes History. Kate lives in Sydney, and her most recent works are the non-fiction books One Life: My Mother’s Story and The Case Against Fragrance.
Melissa Lucashenko is a Goorie writer whose work celebrates Aboriginal people and others living around the margins of the First World. Her latest novel, Too Much Lip, won the Miles Franklin Literary Award and the Queensland Premier's Award for a work of State Significance. Her novel Mullumbimby was longlisted for the Miles Franklin Literary Award and Stella Prize, shortlisted for the Kibble Literary Award, and won the Queensland Literary Award for Fiction and the Victorian Premier’s Award for Indigenous Writing.