at Athenaeum Theatre

Epic Fail

If you want to succeed, you have to start by failing, and failing big. If you haven’t experienced the downside, the frustration, the rejection, then how can you appreciate the sweetness of success when it finally comes?

Australians from all walks of life come together on one big night to revel in the obstacles they have surmounted and the failures that have propelled them to the top of their game.

The reigning queen of rice-paper rolls, Nahji Chu, tried her hand at acting, fashion design and journalism before founding the MissChu chain of restaurants. Sarah Blasko is an ARIA award-winning singer/songwriter whose albums of heartbreak and melancholy found huge success. Paralympian Sam Bramham competed in a number of sports and won gold medals in swimming, famously convincing US media that his leg had been ‘chomped off by a kangaroo.’

Join these speakers, plus Saturday Paper editor Erik Jensen, lawyer and human rights advocate Julian Burnside, former independent MP Rob Oakeshott and historian/Stella-winning author Clare Wright, plus Australian comedian and actress Julia Morris, for an evening of tales guaranteed to amuse, thrill … and convince you that an epic fail is not necessarily the end of the story. For these inspirational Australians, spectacular failure has proven to be little more than a bump in the road to genuine greatness. Go fail!


Portrait of Sam Bramham

Sam Bramham

Sam Bramham entered Paralympic competition with a splash when he broke the 100m butterfly world record at the 2004 Athens Paralympic, his first games, at the age of 16. Since then he has travelled the world winning golds, breaking records and experiencing life at events such as the 2006 Melboune Commonwealth Games, 2007 South African World Championship and 2008 Beijing Paralympics.

Portrait of Julia Morris

Julia Morris

A multi-talented stand-up, host and actress with nearly twenty years experience performing to crowds all over the world, Lady Julia Morris is one of Australia’s most successful and polished comedy exports.

Portrait of Rob Oakeshott

Rob Oakeshott

Rob Oakeshott was the Independent member for Lyne in the House of Representatives from 2008-13. Prior to that, he had been a member of the New South Wales Legislative Assembly, elected in 1996 as the National Party candidate. He left the party to become an Independent in 2002 and retained the seat until 2008. The Independent Member from Lyne: A Memoir (Allen & Unwin) is his first book.

Portrait of Erik Jensen

Erik Jensen

Erik Jensen is the founding editor of The Saturday Paper. He has won the Walkley Award for Young Print Journalist of the Year and the United Nation’s Media Peace Award. He is the author of Acute Misfortune: The Life and Death of Adam Cullen.

Portrait of Nahji Chu

Nahji Chu

Nga Chu, known to everyone as Nahji or Miss Chu and to those who get in her way, as ‘The Queen of Rice Paper Rolls’ is the founder and creative director of misschu.

Portrait of Sarah Blasko

Sarah Blasko

Sarah Blasko is an acclaimed singer, songwriter and performer who has released five studio albums and won numerous accolades, including two ARIA Awards and a J Award. Her most recent album, Eternal Return (2015) was described by the Guardian as 'an extraordinary record' (*****).  She has also composed music for film (The Nightingale and The Rose, Ruben Guthrie), theatre (Bell Shakespeare’s Hamlet) & dance (Sydney Dance Company’s Emergence).

Portrait of Julian Burnside

Julian Burnside

Julian Burnside is a Melbourne barrister. He joined the Bar in 1976 and took silk in 1989. He specialises in commercial litigation, and has acted in many very contentious cases - the MUA Waterfront dispute; the Cash-for-Comment enquiry; cases for Alan Bond and Rose Porteous - but has become known for his human rights work and has acted pro bono in many refugee cases. 

He is an outspoken opponent of the mistreatment of people who come to Australia seeking protection from persecution. His latest book is Watching Out: Reflections on Justice and Injustice (Scribe).

Portrait of Clare Wright

Clare Wright

‘I am a feminist therefore I commit feminist acts. I’m not going to undermine the political importance of what I do.’

La Trobe University historian Professor Clare Wright has worked as an author, academic, political speechwriter, historical consultant, and radio and TV broadcaster. Her latest book, You Daughters of Freedom: The Australians Who Won the Vote and Inspired the World, has been praised by Senator Penny Wong and Anne Summers. Her earlier book, The Forgotten Rebels of Eureka, won the 2014 Stella Prize and the 2014 NIB Award for Literature.


More about this venue, including large map, parking, public transport and accessibility.