The Festival of Questions: What the Hell? The Handmaid’s Tale in 2017
This may not seem ordinary to you now, but after a time it will. It will become ordinary.
Why has The Handmaid's Tale, Margaret Atwood’s uniquely disturbing vision of feminist dystopia, struck such a chord in 2017?
Does the overwhelming response to the new TV Handmaid’s Tale series reflect a moment of unprecedented panic among feminists? Or are we waking up to our complacency?
At the Melbourne Town Hall, Deborah Frances-White, Lauren Duca, Celeste Liddle, Quinn Eades, Jamila Rizvi and Krissy Kneen pull apart and rebuild The Handmaid’s Tale. They take us through key moments of the novel, discuss the TV series’ most poignant, powerful and hands-over-the-eyes-horrific scenes – and interrogate what was left out, too.
Deborah Frances-White is a stand up comedian, writer, speaker and podcaster. She is best known as the creator and host of The Guilty Feminist Podcast – which has had 20 million downloads in its first 18 months. It has just been nominated for a 2017 Aria Award for Best Podcast. She is currently writing a Guilty Feminist book for Virago at Little, Brown.
Lauren Duca is an award-winning and -losing freelance journalist best known for her viral piece 'Donald Trump is Gaslighting America', and calling Tucker Carlson a 'partisan hack' on national television. In addition to working on her Thigh-High Politics column for Teen Vogue, Lauren's work can be found in/on New York magazine, the New Yorker, the New Inquiry, the Nation, Pacific Standard, Cosmopolitan and Complex, among other publications.
Krissy Kneen is the author of Swallow the Sound, a collection of short erotic fiction; Affection, an erotic memoir; Triptych, an erotic adventure; and Steeplechase.
She has had short fiction and non-fiction published at nerve.com, in Best Women’s Erotica 2013, Griffith Review and Island Magazine, Archer, the Lifted Brow and the Great Unknown. She has written and directed short films and television documentaries.
Celeste Liddle is a proud Arrernte woman (traditional owner in Central Australia) who was born in Canberra and has been living in Melbourne for 21 years. She is the current National Indigenous Organiser for the National Tertiary Education Union and also serves on their Women’s Action Committee. Prior to working for the NTEU, Celeste worked for the University of Melbourne and Victorian College of the Arts in Indigenous student support and recruitment and was active on the NTEU branch and division for many years.
Celeste is also a guest columnist for Daily Life and for the Guardian Australia, and blogs personally at http://blackfeministranter.blogspot.com.
Quinn Eades is a researcher, writer, and poet whose work lies at the nexus of feminist and queer theories of the body, autobiography, and philosophy. Eades is published nationally and internationally, and is the author of all the beginnings: a queer autobiography of the body, and Rallying.
Eades is a Lecturer in Interdisciplinary Studies at La Trobe University, as well as the founding editor of Australia's only interdisciplinary, peer reviewed, gender, sexuality and diversity studies journal, Writing from Below. He is currently working on a collection of fragments written from the transitioning body, titled Transpositions.
Over the past five years, Jamila Rizvi has firmly established herself as an eminent voice of young Australian women online. She is a columnist for News Limited, and a regular commentator for 3AW radio, as well as television shows including The Project and The Drum.
Jamila is the former Editor-in-Chief of the Mamamia Women’s Network websites. Prior to entering the media, Jamila worked in politics for former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and Minister Kate Ellis. In 2014 she was named one of Cosmopolitan’s 30 Most Successful Women Under 30; in 2015, she was listed as one of Australia’s 100 Women of Influence by the Australian Financial Review and in 2017 was named one of Melbourne’s Most Influential Women Under 40 by the Weekly Review.
Jamila lives in Melbourne with her husband and an impossible toddler. Not Just Lucky is her debut book.
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