The Wheeler Centre
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Kate Grenville: A Room Made of Leaves
Melbourne-based writer Kate Grenville is a long-time favourite among readers. She’s the author of the international bestseller The Secret River, and other novels including Sarah Thornhill, Lilian’s Story, Dark Places and The Idea of Perfection.
Grenville has spent almost a decade focussed on non-fiction. One Life offered an intimate account of her mother’s life; The Case Against Fragrance investigated the allure, affect and health risks of synthetic scents.
A Room Made of Leaves marks the author’s return to the novel form. It’s a work of historical fiction posing as a memoir written by Elizabeth Macarthur – wife of John Macarthur, the notorious Second Fleet settler and wool baron of early Sydney. Moving between fact and fiction, Grenville uses Macarthur’s story to unravel common notions of women of the past – and to delve into the attraction of false stories.
In conversation with Larissa Behrendt, Grenville talks about the book, her writing and her career.
Presented in partnership with Macedon Ranges Shire Council.
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.
Larissa Behrendt is Professor of Indigenous Research and Director of Research at the Jumbunna Indigenous House of Learning at the University of Technology, Sydney. She is a regular columnist for The Guardian and has published numerous textbooks on Indigenous legal issues. She is also the author of two novels: Home, which won the 2002 David Unaipon Award and the 2005 Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for Best First Book (South-East Asia and South Pacific); and Legacy, which won the 2010 Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for Indigenous Writing. She is the Ambassador of the Gawura Aboriginal Campus at St Andrew’s Cathedral School in Sydney and a board member of the Sydney Story Factory, a literacy program in Redfern. She was awarded the 2009 NAIDOC Person of the Year award and 2011 NSW Australian of the Year. After Story is her latest novel, coming out July 2021 with UQP.