‘History is not the past,' Hilary Mantel has said. 'It's the record of what’s left on the record.’
So, what are the challenges for writers seeking to revive the stories of female historical figures? Women have not always featured prominently in the historical records. And the ways they do feature are often compromised by the prejudices of record writers and keepers of the past.
For this discussion, we'll bring together three outstanding Australian writers: Ali Alizadeh, Odette Kelada and Sarah Goldman. All three have written about women of the past – from Joan of Arc to Caroline Chisholm – and all three are obsessive researchers. Hosted by Gabrielle Ryan, our panellists will discuss narrative approaches to writing and re-writing women’s history, including experimental fiction, academic writing and biography.
What are the responsibilities, and the occupational hazards, of writing about female historical figures?
Is there a difference between facts and the truth? And how hard is it to change collective memory and mythology when writing about people from the past?
Hill of Content will be our bookseller at this event.
Gab is a writer, and the Wheeler Centre's Events Manager. She is very close to completing a PhD in Creative Writing, looking at the Gothic as a transgressive mode of representation in historical novels by Australian women, and writing an historical novel of her own.
Ali Alizadeh is a writer and academic, based in Melbourne.
Odette Kelada is a Lecturer in Creative Writing in the School of Culture and Communication. She has a PhD in literature researching the lives of Australian women writers.
Sarah Goldman has spent most of her life as a journalist. Initially working for newspapers in Sydney and London, she later transferred to television with the BBC. Back in Australia, Sarah continued as a producer for both commercial and ABC television news in Sydney and Melbourne.