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The Big Dry: Alcohol and Us

When

In our backyards, balconies and beer gardens – Australians get along famously with booze. Drinking is an entrenched part of our national identity: it’s a recurrent theme in our pop culture, a scene-setter for friendship, a supposedly inherent part of work and play.

Lately, though, as the personal, social and public health costs of drinking become clear, many Australians are reconsidering our indulgent traditions. Some have even suggested that alcohol will go the way of the cigarette once its connection to chronic or life-threatening illnesses is fully acknowledged.

Jill Stark is the author of High Sobriety: My Year Without Booze. As an Age reporter, she’s written extensively about the escalating toll of alcohol abuse in Australia. Writer Jenny Valentish’s book, Woman of Substances, tells her own story (as well as those found in rehab facilities, halfway houses and AA groups), as she explored the paths people take into and out of addiction. In the process, she’s discovered that women’s experiences of substance abuse and treatment differ greatly from those of men.

Along with Chris Raine – founder of Hello Sunday Morning, an online initiative aiming to refocus drinking behaviour on individual choice, rather than cultural expectation – and host Jacinta Parsons, we’ll open a fresh discussion about Australia’s changing relationship with alcohol, and how we can anticipate and deal with the side effects.

Featuring

Jenny Valentish

Jenny Valentish is a regular contributor to the Sydney Morning Herald and the Saturday Paper, and former editor of Time Out Melbourne and Triple J’s Jmag. She grew up in Slough, a satellite town of London, and moved to Australia in 2006. She quit drinking in 2009, whi... Read more

Jill Stark

Jill Stark is an award-winning journalist and author with a career spanning 18 years in both the UK and Australian media. She spent a decade on staff at the Age, covering health and social affairs as a senior writer and columnist, and now works as a media consultant and freelance writer contributing... Read more

Jacinta Parsons

Jacinta Parsons is a broadcaster, writer, speaker and author of memoir Unseen: The secret life of chronic illness. She is an ambassador for the Crohn’s and Colitis Association of Australia. She currently hosts Afternoons on ABC Melbourne, delivering a popular mix of art, culture and ideas. ... Read more

Chris Raine

Chris is the founder and CEO of Hello Sunday Morning (HSM) – an organisation that helps people to change their relationship with alcohol. Hello Sunday Morning was started after one particularly bad hangover when Chris was 22-years-old – when he decided to take a year off alcohol and share h... Read more

Location

The Wheeler Centre

176 Little Lonsdale Street Melbourne Victoria 3000

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The Wheeler Centre acknowledges the Traditional Owners of the land on which we live and work. We pay our respects to the people of the Kulin Nation and all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elders past and present.