The Wheeler Centre Gala 2012: Stories to Believe In
Taking the lead from George Bernard Shaw, who claimed ‘It is not disbelief that is dangerous to our society; it is belief’, we opened our brand new year of programming by dedicating our annual tradition – the Wheeler Centre Gala Night – to that thorniest and most topical of themes: belief.
11 writers took to the stage to explore the concept of belief from a perspective of their choosing.
· Gillian Mears
· Bob Franklin
· Randa Abdel-Fatah
· Alice Pung
· Kaz Cooke
· Elliot Perlman
· Carrie Tiffany
· Andy Griffiths
· Lally Katz
· Tony Birch
· Casey Bennetto
Gillian Mears grew up in the northern New South Wales town of Grafton. Acclaim came early, with her short story collections and novels winning major prizes.
Bob Franklin is a highly respected writer, actor and comedian (perhaps most recognisable from The Librarians, Stupid Stupid Men and Thank God You’re Here).
Randa Abdel-Fattah works as a litigation lawyer and is also an internationally published award-winning author of six novels, with two more due for release in 2012.
Alice Pung is the bestselling author of Her Father’s Daughter, which won the 2012 Western Australia Premier’s Literary Awards, and Unpolished Gem which won the 2007 Australian Book Industry Newcomer of the Year Award; and is also published in the UK, Germany, Indonesia and the US. She is also the editor of Growing Up Asian in Australia.
Kaz Cooke is a former reporter and cartoonist turned history detective. She is also the author of the bestselling books Up The Duff, Kidwrangling, Girl Stuff, Girl Stuff 8–12, Women’s Stuff, and the children's picture books Wanda Linda Goes Berserk and The Terrible Underpants.
Her new novel, Ada, grew out of her research and exhibition during a Creative Fellowship at the State Library of Victoria, 2013–2015.
Carrie Tiffany was born in West Yorkshire and grew up in Western Australia. She spent her early twenties working as a park ranger in Central Australia. Her first novel, Everyman’s Rules for Scientific Living (2005), was shortlisted for the Orange Prize, the Miles Franklin Literary Award, the Guardian First Book Award and the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize, and won the Dobbie Award and the WA Premier’s Award for Fiction.
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.
Elliot Perlman is an award-winning writer of one short story collection and three novels. He lives in Melbourne, where he also works as a barrister.
Andy Griffiths is one of the most popular children’s authors in Australia. He has written over 30 books, including nonsense verse, short stories, comic novels and plays. His books have been New York Times bestsellers, won more than eighty children’s choice awards, been adapted as theatre shows, television cartoon series and sold more than twelve million copies worldwide. He is best known as the author of the JUST! series, The Day My Bum Went Psycho and, in recent years, the bestselling Treehouse series which has been translated into over thirty languages.
Lally Katz is an award-winning Melbourne based playwright. Her play Goodbye Vaudeville Charlie Mudd premiered at Malthouse Theatre and won the Louis Esson Prize for Drama at the 2009 Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards.
Casey Bennetto is an award-winning writer, musician and radio broadcaster. He wrote the musical KEATING!, hosts the program Superfluity on Melbourne’s 3RRR, and has appeared in places as diverse as ABCTV’s Spicks and Specks, the Melbourne International Arts Festival and the Festival of Dangerous Ideas at Sydney Opera House.