The Di Gribble Argument

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'Dusk Country' artwork by Elizabeth Close – Pitjantjatjara, Yankunytjatjara

at Malthouse Outdoor Stage

Brave Old World: Victor Steffensen on The Present

Hosted by author Tony Birch (Blood, Shadowboxing, The White Girl)  Victor Steffensen will be joined by artist, fire management expert and cultural advisor Tammy Gilson and other guests for a lively discussion sparked by his essay, The Planet is Us. Arguing that our environment is inextricably linked to our personal and collective health, Steffensen is passionate about developing a greater understanding of the link between nature and ourselves. Steffensen will discuss new ways of tackling the environmental challenges of today as we emerge from the ashes of last year’s fires and continue to grapple with the lasting impacts of the pandemic. To begin the day, Gheran-Yarraman Steel (Briggs) will give a Welcome to Country.

The  Di Gribble Argument 2021 is a full day of events held at the Malthouse Outdoor Stage featuring a broad range of First Nations speakers discussing and reflecting on the ideas raised in essays by authors Bruce Pascoe and Victor Steffensen and writer, poet, singer and performer, Teila Watson. Through panels, performance and music, the events and  essays will encourage multi-generational public dialogue that empowers individuals to engage with environmental action.  


This event will be Auslan interpreted.

The bookseller for this event is Readings.

The Di Gribble Argument 2021 is proudly supported by Creative Partnerships Australia.

The Saturday Paper and Triple R are media partners of The Di Gribble Argument 2021: Brave Old World event series


Portrait of Victor Steffensen

Victor Steffensen

Victor Steffensen is a descendant of the Tagalaka people through his mother’s connections from the Gulf Country of north Queensland, the co-founder of the National Indigenous Fire Workshops and the author of Fire Country: How Indigenous Fire Management Could Help Save Australia.

He’s a writer, filmmaker, musician and consultant applying traditional knowledge values in a contemporary context, through workshops and artistic projects. Much of Steffensen's work over the past 27 years has been based on the arts and reviving traditional knowledge values – particularly traditional burning – through mentoring and leadership, as well as on-ground training with Aboriginal communities and many non-Indigenous Australians.

Portrait of Tammy Gilson

Tammy Gilson

Tammy Gilson, Wadawurrung ba-gurrk (woman) who lives on Wadawurrung Country, Tammy refers to her, ‘Nan’s Country’. Tammy acknowledges her ancestors and Elders who have walked before her.

Tammy works as an Aboriginal Inclusion Coordinator for the Department of Environment Land Water and Planning (DELWP) in the Grampians region and has extensive knowledge of cultural heritage and natural resource management including traditional fire burning practice and mapping cultural values. Tammy is also studying a Graduate Diploma in Land and Sea Country Management at NIKERI, Deakin University.

Portrait of Tony Birch

Tony Birch

Tony Birch is a founding member of the Melbourne School of Discontent. He has published three novels; The White GirlGhost River and Blood. He is also the author of Shadowboxing and three short story collections, Father’s DayThe 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.

Portrait of Gheran-Yarraman Steel (Briggs)

Gheran-Yarraman Steel (Briggs)

Gheran-Yarraman is currently undertaking his Juris Doctorate at Monash Law Chambers and has completed his MBA (Executive) at RMIT Graduate School of Business and Law, where he gained a passion for Design Thinking and Cultural Intelligence. As a purpose-driven Indigenous professional, Gheran now utilises these proven innovation and design methods to create culturally smart opportunities for organisations who strive to become leaders in reconciliation and cultural competence, a future where First Peoples’ culture and heritage is not only valued and respected but integrated into our shared Australian way of life.

Gheran draws from 20 years of experience in operations and people management in the commercial sectors, as well in the not-for-profit sector, where he proudly served as the Chief Executive Officer of the Boon Wurrung Foundation Limited, the Boonwurrung community's representative body.

Portrait of Jill Gallagher

Jill Gallagher

Jill Gallagher AO is a Gunditjmara woman from Western Victoria who has worked within, led and advocated for the Victorian Aboriginal community all her life. 

Since 1998 this has been through the Victorian Aboriginal Community Controlled Health Organisation (VACCHO), now one of Australia’s largest and most effective state Aboriginal peak advocacy organisations. As CEO since 2001, Gallagher has led a major growth in the organisation’s status by working to raise its profile and to position it as the key body in addressing Aboriginal health issues.

In 2010, Gallagher was included in the Victorian Honour Roll of Women and in 2013 she was appointed to the Order of Australia in recognition of her strong and effective leadership in Aboriginal health.

The Di Gribble Argument

The Di Gribble Argument honours the contribution of an extraordinary powerhouse of Australian public life, providing an indelible addition to the national debate.

The late Di Gribble was a force in Australian cultural and intellectual life. Publisher, editor, businesswoman: her impact on the world of books, writing and ideas cannot be overstated. Together with Hilary McPhee, Di Gribble established McPhee Gribble in 1975. McPhee and Gribble were the first to publish such iconic Australian writers such as Helen Garner, Tim Winton, and Kaz Cooke, to name a few. In 1990, Gribble went on to found Text Publishing together with the inaugural Chair of the Wheeler Centre, Eric Beecher, attracting writers like Tim Flannery, Peter Singer, and Shane Maloney. Not many can say that they founded two iconic publishing houses within their lifetime; suffice to say that Di Gribble’s influence on Australian literature is sure to be felt for a long time to come.


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The Di Gribble Argument 2021 is proudly supported by