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Humans are animals – but we’re letting our fellow creatures down. What do other animals mean to us, and what do we mean to them?
In April, we're bringing together some of our favourite writers and artists to share reflections on creatures great and small. We're raising funds for wildlife charities working with animals affected by the summer's devastating bushfires. It's estimated that more than a billion animals have died in the fires – and more than 100 species now need urgent help due to scorched habitat.
Grab a drink at the bar and settle in for a night of readings, poetry, art and music, curated by Sophie Cunningham and Emily Bitto, and featuring literary animal-lovers including Helen Garner, Shaun Tan, Ali Cobby Eckermann, Chloe Hooper and more to be announced. We'll be selling t-shirts designed by Kaz Cooke and there'll be a raffle with prizes, too.
Let's do it for the koalas, quolls, dunnarts and wallabies; the alpine bog skinks, lyrebirds, broad-toothed rats, bloodclaw crayfish, glossy black cockatoos and golden-tipped bats.
Presented in partnership with Melbourne Fringe.
This event will be Auslan interpreted.
Sophie Cunningham is the author of five books, the most recent of which is City of Trees: Essays on Life, Death & the Need for a Forest. She is a former publisher, former editor of Meanjin, former Chair of the Literature Board of the Australia Council and was a co-founder of The Stella Prize. She is an Adjunct Professor with RMIT's Non/fiction lab.
Emily Bitto has a Masters in Literature and a PhD in Creative Writing from the University of Melbourne. Her debut novel, The Strays, was shortlisted for the 2013 Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for an Unpublished Manuscript, and was published by Affirm Press in 2014. It was the winner of the 2015 Stella Prize.
‘It is astonishing how much shit a woman will cop in the interests of civic and domestic order.’
Helen Garner is a legend. Our poet-laureate of the acute observation, the award-winning novelist, short-story writer, screenwriter and journalist has made a peerless contribution to Australian letters, Australian culture and our sense of ourselves. In 2006 she received the inaugural Melbourne Prize for Literature, and in 2016 she won the prestigious Windham Campbell Prize for non-fiction and the Western Australian Premier’s Book Award. In 2019 Garner was honoured with the Australia Council Award for Lifetime Achievement in Literature. Her books include Monkey Grip, The First Stone, This House of Grief and Everywhere I Look.
Chloe Hooper’s The Tall Man: Death and Life on Palm Island (2008) won the Victorian, New South Wales, West Australian and Queensland Premier’s Literary Awards, as well as the John Button Prize for Political Writing, and a Ned Kelly Award for crime writing. Her latest book is The Arsonist: A Mind on Fire (2018). She is also the author of two novels, A Child’s Book of True Crime and The Engagement.
Shaun Tan grew up in Perth and works as an artist, writer and film-maker in Melbourne, best known for illustrated books that deal with social, political and historical subjects through dream-like imagery. The Rabbits, The Red Tree, Tales from Outer Suburbia and the graphic novel The Arrival have been widely translated throughout the world and enjoyed by readers of all ages.
Shaun has also worked as a theatre designer, a concept artist for Pixar and won an Academy Award for the short animated film The Lost Thing. In 2011 he received the prestigious Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award in Sweden, in recognition of his services to literature for young people. His recent titles include Cicada, Rules of Summer and The Singing Bones. Tales from the Inner City will be published in September 2018.
Ali Cobby Eckermann is the first Aboriginal Australian writer to attend the International Writing Program at the University of Iowa in 2014. Her verse novel Ruby Moonlight was published in the USA in 2015 and a collection of poems translated and published in Kolkata, India. She returned home and launched her seventh book Inside My Mother in Alice Springs. In 2017, Ali was the first Indigenous poet to receive the Windham Campbell Prize for poetry from Yale University.
Chris Flynn is the author of The Glass Kingdom and A Tiger in Eden, which was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Book Prize. His fiction and non-fiction have appeared in the Age, the Australian, Griffith Review, Meanjin, Australian Book Review, the Saturday Paper, Smith Journal, the Big Issue, Monster Children and many other publications. He has conducted interviews for the Paris Review and is a regular presenter at literary festivals across Australia. Chris lives on Phillip Island, next to a penguin sanctuary.
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.
Mandy Ord is a Melbourne based illustrator and cartoonist with a long history of self-publishing as well as having a number of published books including Brickdog & Other Stories with Pluto Press, NY and Rooftops with Finlay Lloyd, Galapagos with Glom Press and Sensitive Creatures with Allen & Unwin. In 2012 Sensitive Creatures received a White Ravens award at the Bologna Book Fair. In 2020 her new book When One Person Dies The Whole World Is Over published by Brow Books was on the longlist for The Stella Prize. Mandy’s illustrated children’s book Chalk Boy, published by Allen & Unwin and written by Margaret Wild was shortlisted in 2019 by the Children’s Book Council of Australia.