Make It New: 2021 and Beyond

This year, 2020, marks the Wheeler Centre’s tenth birthday. It hasn’t turned out exactly how we planned, but many events and milestones have taken unusual shapes and forms this year. 

Few of us could have predicted the events of this painful, bizarre, confusing and at times, strangely exhilarating year. But why should that stop us from dreaming about the future, imagining how we might rebuild things, and planning better days – or at least a new-new normal?

In our closing event of the year, we're bringing together brilliant speakers to reflect on these momentous times, and to share their hopes for what might lie ahead. What have we learned about ourselves and our communities from living through the changes of 2020? What do we want to leave behind? What new insights and resolutions – hazy or crystal clear – will propel us into 2021 and beyond?

At this very special digital event, Trent Dalton and Bruce Pascoe will share speculations and imaginings for the future; then they’ll appear in conversation with Wheeler Centre CEO Caro Llewellyn. With a Welcome to Country from N'arweet Carolyn Briggs, and poetic performances from Paul Kelly and Jazz Money. Crack open the champagne with us (or not) as we blow out our birthday candles, farewell 2020 and cheer for the arrival of 2021. 

This is the final event in the Wheeler Centre’s tenth birthday year; a year where things haven’t turned out exactly as expected. It's been a difficult time in the literary sector, but we're proud of the smart and engaging digital events we’ve presented and of the work opportunities for writers we’ve created throughout this time.

We hope you’ll consider supporting us, and the exciting programme we have planned for 2021, with your ticket purchase or by adding a tax-deductible in-cart donation with your booking.

Make It New: 2021 and Beyond


Portrait of Caro Llewellyn

Caro Llewellyn

Caro Llewellyn is CEO of the Wheeler Centre and the author of four works of non-fiction including the 2020 Stella Prize shortlisted memoir, Diving into Glass. She's also the former director of several large scale literary festivals, including Sydney Writers' Festival and the PEN World Voices Festival chaired by Salman Rushdie in New York.

Portrait of N'arweet Carolyn Briggs

N'arweet Carolyn Briggs

N'arweet Dr Carolyn Briggs AM is a Boon Wurrung senior elder and is the chairperson and founder of the Boon Wurrung Foundation. A descendant of the First Peoples of Melbourne, the Yaluk-ut Weelam clan of the Boon Wurrung, she is the great-granddaughter of Louisa Briggs, a Boon Wurrung woman born near Melbourne in the 1830s.

Carolyn has been involved in developing and supporting opportunities for Indigenous youth and Boon Wurrung culture for over 40 years. In 2005, she established the Boon Wurrung Foundation, which has been responsible for significant work in cultural research, including restoration of the Boon Wurrung language. The Foundation also helps connect Aboriginal youth to their heritage.

Portrait of Trent Dalton

Trent Dalton

Trent Dalton is a staff writer for the Weekend Australian magazine and a former assistant editor of the Courier Mail. He’s a two-time winner of a Walkley Award for Excellence in Journalism, a four-time winner of a Kennedy Award for Excellence in NSW Journalism and a four-time winner of the national News Awards Features Journalist of the Year.

His bestselling debut novel, Boy Swallows Universe, broke records to become the fastest selling Australian debut novel ever. It is being published globally across 34 English language and translation territories and has won many major Australian literary prizes including the UTS Glenda Adams Award for New Writing at the 2019 NSW Premier’s Literary Awards, the 2019 Indie Book of the Year, NSW Premier’s Literary Award for New Writer and People’s Choice, the Indie Book of the Year and a record-breaking four Australian Book Industry Awards. Boy Swallows Universe is currently being adapted for the stage by Queensland Theatre Company and for the screen, with Joel Edgerton attached. His most recent book is All Our Shimmering Skies which became an instant bestseller when it was published in September 2020.

Portrait of Paul Kelly

Paul Kelly

Paul Kelly was born in Adelaide, one of nine children, in 1955. He wrote his first song in 1976 and has been making records since 1978, over thirty to date. He has collaborated with many other songwriters and written music for film and theatre. His prose has appeared in MeanjinThe MonthlyRolling Stone and the Age, and in 2010 he published a ‘mongrel memoir’, How to Make Gravy. Love is Strong as Death: Poems chosen by Paul Kelly was published in 2019. His most recent albums are 2019’s Thirteen Ways to Look at Birds and 2020's Please Leave Your Light On, with Paul Grabowsky.

Portrait of Bruce Pascoe

Bruce Pascoe

Bruce Pascoe is a Yuin, Bunurong and Tasmanian man born in the Melbourne suburb of Richmond. He’s the author of the best-selling Dark Emu, Young Dark Emu: A Truer History, Loving Country: A Guide to Sacred Australia and over thirty other books including the short story collections Night Animals and Nightjar, and academic texts including The Little Red Yellow Black Book with AIATSIS. Dark Emu (Magabala Books) won Book of the Year and the Indigenous Writer’s Prize at the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards in 2016, and has now sold in excess of 200,000 copies.

Portrait of Jazz Money

Jazz Money

Jazz Money is a poet, digital producer and filmmaker of Wiradjuri heritage, currently based on the beautiful sovereign lands of the Darug and Gundungurra nations. Her poetry has been published and spoken widely across so-called ‘Australia,’ and reimagined as murals, installation and film. Jazz is the 2020 winner of the David Unaipon Award. In 2019 Jazz was an inaugural winner of the Aunty Kerry Reed-Gilbert Poetry Prize and a recipient of the Copyright Agency First Nations Fellowship. Her first collection of poetry is forthcoming with University of Queensland Press.


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