The Salon Series

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at Conversation Quarter, State Library Victoria

The Salon Series: Country and Culture

Presented in partnership with State Library Victoria

Join us for a special celebration of the power of Indigenous storytelling, poetry and music.

This event will honour the 2021 NAIDOC Week theme of ‘Heal Country’, and is the first in a new series of seasonal creative salons presented in partnership with State Library Victoria.

Following a Welcome to Country from Uncle Bill Nicholson Jr, writer and poet Susie Anderson will read from her 2021 black&write! Fellowship winning poetry collection the body country, which explores land, memory, love and art.

Then, David Unaipon Award-winning author and Distinguished Professor Larissa Behrendt will discuss her extraordinary new novel After Story with Yorta Yorta writer and broadcaster Daniel James. Exploring love and familial secrets, After Story movingly fuses Western literature and Indigenous storytelling.

Rounding out a unique and powerful evening, 22-year-old Kuku Yalanji, Jirrbal and Badu Island songbird Kee’ahn will share a striking performance of her soulful melodies of identity, heartbreak and healing.

Enjoy a drink from our bar, which will be open before, during and after the event.

This event will be Auslan interpreted.

The bookseller for this event is Readings.


The Salon Series: Country and Culture

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Portrait of Larissa Behrendt

Larissa Behrendt

Larissa Behrendt is Professor of Indigenous Research and Director of Research at the Jumbunna Indigenous House of Learning at the University of Technology, Sydney. She is a regular columnist for The Guardian and has published numerous textbooks on Indigenous legal issues. She is also the author of two novels: Home, which won the 2002 David Unaipon Award and the 2005 Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for Best First Book (South-East Asia and South Pacific); and Legacy, which won the 2010 Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for Indigenous Writing. She is the Ambassador of the Gawura Aboriginal Campus at St Andrew’s Cathedral School in Sydney and a board member of the Sydney Story Factory, a literacy program in Redfern. She was awarded the 2009 NAIDOC Person of the Year award and 2011 NSW Australian of the Year. After Story is her latest novel, coming out July 2021 with UQP.

Portrait of Daniel James

Daniel James

Daniel is an award-winning Yorta Yorta Melbourne based writer and broadcaster. He hosts the Mission on 3RRR and is the winner of the 2018 Horne Prize for his essay Ten More Days.

Born in Melbourne and raised on Taungurong country in North East Victoria, Daniel’s work explores notions of empathy, intergenerational trauma, hidden history and the political landscape that continues to shape the lives of Aboriginal people across the country.

Daniel’s work explores what it means to be Aboriginal in the modern context and the impacts the impacts that political and societal attitudes continue to have on Aboriginal people, their sense of place and their sense of land. 

Portrait of Kee'ahn


Kee’ahn is a proud Kuku Yalanji, Jirrbal, Zenadth Kes song woman who has recently ventured from her home town in North Queensland, to pursue her dream in the Kulin Nation (Melbourne, Australia).

With a name coming from the Wik people, meaning to dance, to sing, to play, Kee’ahn aims to honour her name and Ancestors through her soulful music that weaves lush melodies and words reminiscent of heartbreak and healing.

Portrait of Susie Anderson

Susie Anderson

Susie Anderson writes from the nexus of compassion and resistance. Her poetry and nonfiction are widely published online and in print, such as in Archer, Artist Profile, Artlink, un magazine, Growing Up Aboriginal in Australia and in many poetry anthologies.

In 2018, she was runner-up in the Overland Poetry Prize and awarded the Emerging Writer's Fellowship at State Library Victoria; in 2019, she was awarded a Writer's Victoria Neilma Sidney Grant and a recipient of the Overland Writers Residency. In 2020, she edited the online journal, Tell Me Like You Mean It Volume 4, for Australian Poetry and Cordite Poetry Review. She is a 2021 black&write! Fellow.

Her professional practice is as a digital producer in the arts and creative industries ranging from Sydney, London and Melbourne. Leveraging her position within institutions, she attempts to bring about change by uncovering and amplifying stories from her own and other communities. Descended from the Wergaia and Wemba Wemba peoples of Western Victoria, she currently lives on Boon Wurrung land in Melbourne. 

Portrait of Uncle Bill Nicholson Jr

Uncle Bill Nicholson Jr

Uncle Bill Nicholson Jr is passionate about sharing his extensive cultural knowledge with the broader community. He is deeply committed to Wurundjeri Woi wurrung traditions and cultural practise and continuously advocates for the rights of contemporary Wurundjeri Woi wurrung people to access and practise culture on traditional Country. Uncle Bill is Wurundjeri Woi wurrung Corporations Principal adult cross-cultural educator for the corporate, not-for-profit and university sectors. A former Winston Churchill Fellowship recipient (2015), Uncle Bill’s fellowship explored cultural practice and maintenance amongst First Nation communities in urban environments. Uncle Bill was also amongst the Victorian delegates nominated to attend the First People’s Assembly which resulted in the Uluru Statement from the Heart.

The Salon Series

The salon has a long and storied history as a space for the discussion of art, ideas, politics, literature and philosophy. Salons have been meeting sites for cultural figures from E.M. Forster and Virginia Woolf, to Picasso, Hemingway and F Scott Fitzgerald. Whether it’s A’Lelia Walker in 1920s Harlem, Marcel Proust in 19th century Paris, or Melbourne’s very own Heide Circle, salons have invigorated cultural and intellectual life across the globe.

In partnership with State Library Victoria, we’re bringing you a series of seasonal creative salons celebrating Australia’s most exciting thinkers and performers. With old-school flair and a contemporary spin, we’ll hear from writers, poets and musicians whose work is defining the current-day cultural agenda and will resonate for years to come.

So grab a glass of wine, pull up a chair, and dive into a vibrant evening of creativity and culture.


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