The Wheeler Centre
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To greet the release of Harper Lee’s long lost Go Set a Watchman, we present a unique, immersive tribute to its legendary companion, To Kill a Mockingbird. First published 45 years ago to immediate acclaim (and a swift Pulitzer gong), To Kill a Mockingbird’s influence runs deep – through the legal and political establishment as well as the literary world.
With the help of six writers, thinkers and artists, and playwright Anne-Louise Sarks, we pull apart and rebuild Mockingbird. They take us through the key moments of the story so well-loved, exposing its incisive relevance through discussions of its major concerns: themes such as race, class and gender, and laws written and unwritten.
Led by host Jennifer Byrne, Nicola Roxon, Lex Lasry, Tony Birch, Virginia Gay and Bruce Gladwin traverse multiple moments and characters from the text as they celebrate a legacy – and its historic twist – half a century in the making.
Jennifer Byrne is a senior journalist and broadcaster who has worked in all arms of the media: print, radio and television.
Having done her cadetship at the Age and worked on UK’s Fleet Street, she was a founding reporter with Channel Nine’s Sunday programme and spent some 12 years traveling the world for 60 Minutes and as anchor for Foreign Correspondent. She was publishing director of Reed Books, morning presenter on ABC radio, won national awards as interviewer and columnist for the Bulletin and, in May 2006, returned to TV to create the country’s first televised Book Club, which ran on the ABC for 11 years until December 2019.
Anne-Louise Sarks is the resident director at Belvoir. She works professionally as an actor, director and dramaturg.
Nicola Roxon became Australia’s first female Attorney- General in 2011, a culmination of a stellar political career and impressive legal background. As Health Minister, she negotiated reforms to Australia’s public hospital, primary care and preventative health systems. Roxon retired from politics in 2013, and is now an Adjunct Professor at Victoria University's College of Law and Justice.
Bruce Gladwin (born 1966) is an Australian artist and performance maker. He has been the Artistic Director of Back to Back Theatre since 1999. The work Gladwin has created with the company is recognised for innovation and excellence, touring regularly to major international arts festivals and institutions.
The Hon. Lex Lasry is one of Australia’s most prominent barristers and jurists, and a longtime advocate of the abolition of the death penalty.
Tony Birch is a founding member of the Melbourne School of Discontent. He has published three novels; The White Girl, Ghost River and Blood. He is also the author of Shadowboxing and three short story collections, Father’s Day, The Promise and Common People. In 2017 he was awarded the Patrick White Literary Award for his contribution to Australian literature. In 2021 he released two new books, a poetry book, Whisper Songs and a new short story collection, Dark As Last Night.
Virginia Gay is a performer for stage and television.