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Why be good? Questions of work, love and feminism
Discuss the complexities of gender and power with the formidable critical faculties of Meghan Daum, Jane Caro, Geraldine Brooks, Nakkiah Lui and Sally Warhaft.
While Roxane Gay has popularised the notion of being a ‘bad feminist’, one might ask: what does a good feminist look like? How about a good woman, parent, lover, worker? Why be good, anyway?
In a broad, inclusive and multi-generational discussion covering the soft corners and spiked edges of today’s feminism, we put our Brains Trust to work on the major questions that women face.
How should a woman be at work, in love, and in relation to power? How might women think through approaches to parenthood, personal safety and professional prejudice? What is a modern family? What’s femininity, and how valuable is it?
How can diverse feminism consolidate influence?
Jane Caro is an author, novelist, speaker, broadcaster, columnist, advertising writer and media and social commentator. She has published seven books, including two novels about Elizabeth Tudor. Her memoir, Plain Speaking Jane, was released in September 2015. She writes regular columns in the Sun Herald Sunday Life magazine, MT magazine and Mamamia Debrief Daily. She appears often in the media, including on the Gruen Transfer, Agony, Q&A, The Drum, Sunrise and Weekend Sunrise.
Nakkiah Lui is a writer/actor and Gamillaroi/Torres Strait Islander woman. She is a co-writer and star of ABC's Black Comedy. She has been an artist in residence at Griffin Theatre Company (2013) and was playwright in residence at Belvoir Theatre from 2012–14. In 2012, Nakkiah was the first recipient of The Dreaming Award from The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island Arts Board of the Australia Council. The same year, Nakkiah was also the inaugural recipient of the Balnaves Foundation Indigenous Playwright Award. In 2014, Nakkiah was the recipient of the Malcolm Robertson Prize and a Green Room Award for Best Independent Production. Most recently Nakkiah won the NSW Premier’s Literary Award 2018, Nick Enright Prize for Playwriting for Black is the New White.
Meghan Daum has been a columnist on the op-ed page of the Los Angeles Times since 2005. She is the author of four books, most recently The Unspeakable: And Other Subjects of Discussion, a collection of original essays about sentimentality and manufactured emotion in American life.
She is also the editor of Selfish, Shallow & Self-Absorbed: Sixteen Writers on the Choice Not to Have Children, featuring essays from celebrated writers including Lionel Shriver, Geoff Dyer, Pam Houston, Sigrid Nunez and Kate Christensen.
She has contributed to National Public Radio's Morning Edition and Marketplace, This American Life, and has written for numerous publications including The New Yorker, Harper's, GQ, Elle, Vogue, New York, Travel & Leisure, BlackBook, The Village Voice, and the New York Times Book Review.
Sally Warhaft is a Melbourne broadcaster, anthropologist and writer. She hosts the Fifth Estate, the Wheeler Centre’s live series focusing on journalism, politics, media, and international relations, now in its ninth year. She is a former editor of the Monthly magazine and the author of the bestselling book Well May We Say: The Speeches that Made Australia.
Sally is a regular host and commentator on ABC radio and has a PhD in anthropology. She did her fieldwork in Mumbai, India, living by the seashore with the local fishing community.
Geraldine Brooks is an author and journalist who grew up in Sydney's western suburbs.
In 1982 she won a scholarship to the journalism master's program at Columbia University in New York. Later, she worked for the Wall Street Journal, where she covered crises in the Middle East, Africa and the Balkans.
In 2006, she was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in fiction for her novel March. Her novels Caleb's Crossing and People of the Book were both New York Times bestsellers, and Year of Wonders and People of the Book are international bestsellers, translated into more than 25 languages. She is also the author of the acclaimed non-fiction works Nine Parts of Desire and Foreign Correspondence.
In 2011, she presented Australia's prestigious Boyer Lectures, later published as The Idea of Home.