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Must happiness require effort? Meghan Daum and Sally Warhaft


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Common wisdom asserts, with its casual air of fact, that something called happiness is both possible and truer when earned. What do we – not so much as psychologists or scientists, but as people who live – know about happiness? What drives our preoccupation with authentic emotions, and our attachment to labour as a virtue?

The texture, timbre and depth of our emotions and relationships are, as it turns out, the specialty of writer Meghan Daum. She’s an accomplished essayist whose work deals with many and varied features of contemporary life – including ageing, sentimentality, sexuality, illness and modern families (especially consciously childless ones). You’ll find her work in titles such as the Los Angeles Times, The New Yorker, Harper’s and Vogue.

Why do we still think that marriage and children are the path to happiness when so many alternatives exist? Is it shameful to feel devastated by the loss of one person, when tsunamis and earthquakes can wipe out generations of families? Why do humans have such an affinity with dogs? Hear Daum’s view as she speaks with broadcaster, anthropologist and fellow people-watcher Sally Warhaft about emotional labour, loss, fulfilment, families and womanhood.

Tickets to this event are available at the door. Arrive at least twenty minutes prior to the event to purchase.

Note to early bookers: if you booked tickets to this event prior to Thursday 19 November, some details may have changed. Please check for details.





Meghan Daum

Meghan Daum has been a columnist on the op-ed page of the Los Angeles Times since 2005. She is the author of four books, most recently The Unspeakable: And Other Subjects of Discussion, a collection of original essays about sentimentality and manufactured emotion in American... Read more

Sally Warhaft

Sally Warhaft is a Melbourne broadcaster, anthropologist and writer. She is the host of The Fifth Estate, the Wheeler Centre’s live series focusing on journalism, politics, media, and international relations, and The Leap Year, a Wheeler Centre podcast about Australians’ lives in the fog of ... Read more


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