A Walk in the Park
View all events in this series
Our first Walk in the Park brings writers Jessica Friedmann and Fiona Wright together for an ambling conversation.
Friedmann’s recent book, Things That Helped, chronicles her postnatal depression through a series of essays which reference theory, pop culture and her personal experiences. She describes the many significant changes she faced at once, and how on the advice of a hospital psychologist, walking and narrating her steps formed part of her recovery – helping to focus her consciousness on ‘the immediacy of voice and breath’.
Acute bodily awareness is a familiar subject for Wright, who in Small Acts of Disappearance describes vividly her encounters with anorexia. As they round Princes Park, they’ll discuss movement, change, and the body.
How will this event work?
Each attendee will have their own pair of wireless headphones (volume adjustable!). Speakers will lead the group at a slow walking pace around Princes Park, fitted with microphones. >Since this is a public park, we’ll be sharing the track with runners, dog walkers and other walkers. The headphones have a good range, so if you fall behind the group, fear not – you’ll still be able to hear the conversation up to ~150m away. Each event will run for 60 minutes, but depending on the group’s walking pace, may not complete a full circuit of Princes Park (which is 3.2km). We encourage participants to wear runners (and a raincoat if the weather is looking soggy), noting that some paths are sealed and some are sand.
Jessica Friedmann is a writer and editor living in Canberra, Australia, with her husband and small son. A graduate of the University of Melbourne with an honours thesis in creative writing, for which she won an R. G. Wilson Scholarship, her work has appeared in the Rumpus, the Lifted Brow, Smith Journal, Dumbo Feather, ArtsHub, the Age and other publications. Her first book of essays, Things That Helped (Scribe), was published in 2017.
Fiona Wright is a writer, editor and critic from Sydney. Her book of essays Small Acts of Disappearance won the 2016 Kibble Award and the Queensland Literary Award for non-fiction, and her new collection, The World Was Whole was longlisted for the 2019 Stella Prize. Her poetry collections are Knuckled (2011) and Domestic Interior (2017).
History, and the history of great art and thinking, is rife with walkers. From flâneuring to Freud – from Wes Anderson to Marina Abramović – the simple act of putting one foot in front of the other has long been celebrated as a potent way to access the mind, the spirit, a sense of contemplation, or the most basic pleasures of being in the world.
So: how do writers and researchers use walking? How does it affect their ability to think methodically or creatively – and what can it offer to mental health?
For this unique one-day series, made up of three walks, you’re invited to eavesdrop on a roving conversation around Princes Park. On each hour-long amble, two writers will reflect on their unique relationships with walking. You’ll stroll behind them, listening in via wireless headphones. (Soggy day? Bring a raincoat!)