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 Fleet Street in London, 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, won national awards as a magazine columnist and, since May 2006, has hosted First Tuesday Book Club (now The Book Club) and presented literary specials for ABC1.
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 the author of Ghost River, which won the 2016 Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for Indigenous Writing, and Blood, which was shortlisted for the Miles Franklin Award. He is also the author of Shadowboxing, and three short story collections – Father’s Day, The Promise and Common People.
Tony is a frequent contributor to ABC local and national radio, and a regular guest at writers’ festivals. He lives in Melbourne and is a Senior Research Fellow at Victoria University.
Virginia Gay is a performer for stage and television.