The Big Dry: Alcohol and Us
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.
Jenny Valentish’s fourth book, Everything Harder Than Everyone Else, explores the fine line between hedonism and endurance, including the feats of porn stars. It seemed like the natural follow-up to her Walkley-nominated book about addiction and impulsivity, Woman of Substances – in part a m... Read more
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 is a broadcaster, writer and public speaker who currently hosts the Afternoon program on ABC Local Radio Melbourne. She released her debut memoir, Unseen: The Secret Life of Chronic Illness in 2020 and recently released her second book A Question of Age: Women, ageing and the forever... Read more
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
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