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 an award-winning writer and a beloved member of the Australian literary community. She has written memoir, poetry and fiction, and her latest novel An Uncertain Grace, was shortlisted for the Stella Prize in 2018.
Her other work includes Affection, Steeplechase, Triptych and The Adventures of Holly White and the Incredible Sex Machine. Krissy’s new novel, Wintering, will be published in September 2018.
She lives in Brisbane.
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.
In 2015 Quinn Eades changed his name and gender. Prior to 2015, he was writing and speaking as Karina Quinn.
Jamila is author of the best-selling Not Just Lucky, a career manifesto for millennial women, and The Motherhood, an anthology of letters about life with a newborn. She is Editor-at-Large of the Nine Network’s Future Women and host of their podcast Future Women Weekly. She's also a regular commentator on The Project, Today, The Drum, Q&A, an occasional host on ABC Melbourne and co-founder of the popular event series Tea with Jam and Clare.
She previously worked in politics for the Rudd and Gillard Governments, advising on issues including media, women, childcare and employment. Jamila is an Ambassador for CARE Australia and board member of the Melbourne Writers’ Festival. She has been named as one of Australia’s 100 Women of Influence by the Australian Financial Review. She lives in Melbourne with her husband Jeremy, son Rafi and many loads of clean but regrettably unfolded washing.
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