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Australian Literature 102

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Ruth Park’s The Harp in the South

Join host James Ley and writer Alice Pung to discuss the beloved Australian classic The Harp in the South, Ruth Park’s book about the life and loves of the Darcy family in Sydney’s slums. Considered scandalous when first published, it’s now a respectable staple of high school reading lists, and close to the hearts of many booklovers.


Portrait of James Ley

James Ley

James Ley holds a PhD in English literature from the University of Western Sydney. He has been a professional literary critic for fifteen years.

Portrait of Alice Pung

Alice Pung

Alice Pung is an award-winning Australian writer whose books include the bestselling memoirs Unpolished Gem (2006) and Her Father's Daughter (2011), and the novel Laurinda (2014). She is the editor of the anthology Growing Up Asian in Australia (2008), and created the Marly books for Penguin's Our Australian Girl series (2015). Her latest book is the novel One Hundred Days (2021).

Australian Literature 102

We’ve created an Australian Classics book club, just for you – with special writerly guests each month.

Last year’s hugely popular Australian Literature 101 set the scene by introducing ten texts our experts deemed unmissable Australian reading.

This year, we invite you on a brand new, leisurely stroll through our national literature, as we guide you through rediscovered classics and much-loved favourites alike.

Our host is renowned critic – and literature lover – James Ley, editor of the Sydney Review of Books.