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Relative States

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at The Wheeler Centre

Robert Manne and Anne Manne

As part of our Relative States series, we’re presenting two formidable Melbourne intellectuals, who also happen to be married: Anne and Robert Manne.

Anne is a journalist, social philosopher and memoirist, who has served as a columnist for the Age and the Australian. Robert Manne is an emeritus professor of politics at La Trobe University and – as an author, media commentator and essayist – has one of the most well-known bylines in Australian journalism.

In conversation with Melbourne broadcaster Alicia Sometimes, the pair will discuss where their influences, processes and interests converge. Do tensions emerge when domestic and professional worlds intersect? Can these tensions be productive? And what have they learned, as writers and thinkers, from each other?

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Portrait of Alicia Sometimes

Alicia Sometimes

Alicia Sometimes is an Australian writer and broadcaster. She has performed her spoken word and poetry at many venues, festivals and events around the world. Her poems have been in Best Australian Science Writing, Best Australian Poems, Overland, Southerly, Meanjin, the Age, ABC TV's Sunday Arts and more. She is a co-host of the Outer Sanctum podcast (ABC podcasts and radio). 

Portrait of Anne Manne

Anne Manne

Anne Manne is a Melbourne writer. She has been a regular columnist for The Australian and the Age. More recently, her essays on contemporary culture such as child abuse, pornography, gendercide and disability have all appeared in The Monthly magazine.

Portrait of Robert Manne

Robert Manne

Robert Manne’s many books include Making Trouble and The Words That Made Australia (as co-editor). He is the author of three Quarterly Essays, In Denial, Sending Them Home and Bad News. He is a Vice-Chancellor's Fellow at La Trobe University.

Relative States

Perhaps because talent runs in families, perhaps because we learn by example, perhaps because opposites don’t always attract in romance – there are often two people from the same household pursuing the same profession.

Sometimes these relationships are destructive (think of Sylvia Plath and Ted Hughes); sometimes they’re complicated (the AFL’s Ablett family). Sometimes they even appear to be  functional and mutually enriching (former ALP leader Kim Beazley was inspired by his father’s example to go into politics).

In our Relative States series, we’ll speak to high-profile pairs – some couples, some kin – about the intersection of their creative and professional worlds.


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