Goodbye 2019, we hardly knew ye! One minute, it was all heatwaves and holidays. The next minute, Simone Biles was doing triple-double backflips and Master Archie was high-fiving Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Yes, in 2019, the news once again outpaced our ability to keep up with it. But with our annual Show of the Year we'll relive the past 12 months in all their horror (Notre Dame!) and glory (Bluey!).
What a year. Protests shook Hong Kong, the Amazon caught fire and children led a worldwide climate strike. Boris Johnson picked up the prime ministerial ball as it came loose from the back of the scrum, Scott Morrison baseball-capped his way back into government, and Trump impeachment talk turned to (some) action.
We said goodbye to towering figures in literature and politics, including Toni Morrison, Bob Hawke, Les Murray and Mary Oliver. And we farewelled meowing figures of the internet. (R.I.P. Grumpy Cat.)
There were the mandatory Big Cultural Moments, too: someone (no spoilers) finally won the Game of Thrones, Fleabag stormed the Emmys, and a Sydney real estate video went viral. Beyoncé came home, Fyre Festival blew up (again) and Lil Nas X shot to stardom via TikTok. Ah yes, how could we forget: TikTok.
So as the decade turns, we’ll be remembering 2019 in style – with host Casey Bennetto and a glittering line-up of writers, comedians and musicians, including Paul Kelly, Louise Milligan, Nath Valvo and The Merindas.
Casey Bennetto is an award-winning writer, musician and radio broadcaster. He wrote the musical KEATING!, hosts the program Superfluity on Melbourne’s 3RRR, and has appeared in places as diverse as ABCTV’s Spicks and Specks, the Melbourne International Arts Festival and the Festival of Dangerous Ideas at Sydney Opera House.
Louise Milligan is an investigative reporter for ABC TV's Four Corners and the bestselling author of Cardinal, which won the Walkley Book Award and broke massive international news preceding the court case and successive and ultimately successful appeals involving one of the most senior members of the Catholic Church hierarchy. Among many awards for her work, she's also the recipient of the 2019 Press Freedom Medal. Her latest book is Witness: An investigation into the brutal cost of seeking justice.
Paul Kelly was born in Adelaide, one of nine children, in 1955. He wrote his first song in 1976 and has been making records since 1978, over thirty to date. He has collaborated with many other songwriters and written music for film and theatre. His prose has appeared in Meanjin, The Monthly, Rolling Stone and the Age, and in 2010 he published a ‘mongrel memoir’, How to Make Gravy. Love is Strong as Death: Poems chosen by Paul Kelly was published in 2019. His most recent albums are 2019’s Thirteen Ways to Look at Birds and 2020's Please Leave Your Light On, with Paul Grabowsky.
The Merindas are a Contemporary R&B/Electropop duo that present a much anticipated show never seen before on the Australian music scene. They're the synthesis of warrior queen, bringing an on-trend style of rhythmic, expressive and beautiful music dedicated to the preservation of Indigenous language and culture in a modern form.
The Merindas are Candice Lorrae of Jawoyn and Thursday Islander heritage (born Darwin NT) and Nyoongar Ballardong Whadjuk woman Kristel Kickett (from Tammin WA). They discovered their mutual passion for music in Perth more than 7 years ago. Now based in Melbourne, these soul sisters are set to trail-blaze their innovative style of Indigenous music.
Bill Shorten is the Shadow Minister for the National Disability Insurance Scheme, the Shadow Minister for Government Services, and was leader of the Australian Labor Party from 2013 to 2019.
Nath Valvo’s hilariously physical, high-energy comedy is impressing critics and winning crowds across the globe. Not many comedians can boast that their fan base includes TV royalty, but Nath has the tweet from Graham Norton to prove it.
Sydney songwriter Laura Jean is revered for the striking beauty of her music and the strength of her piercing, intimate lyrics. She has twice been shortlisted for the Aus- tralian Music Prize, and has recorded with Paul Kelly, The Drones, Rolling Blackouts and Grand Salvo. She has toured UK/Europe with Courtney Barnett, Aldous Harding and Jenny Hval, Aus/NZ with Aldous Harding and Marlon Williams, and played Meredith, Dark Mofo, Falls Festival, the National Gallery Of Victoria and Sydney Town Hall.
Sista Zai Zanda is a storyteller, educator and curator of the Pan Afrikan Poets Cafe – an Afro-Literary matinée of beats, performance and poetry. Since 2015, Zai has spoiled audiences in Melbourne and Sydney with over 100 performances by African and First Nations storytellers including feature performances by renowned international artists Mahogany L Browne (NYC, Nuyorican Poets Cafe), Inua Ellams (Nigeria/UK), Kat François (Trinidad/UK) and Jive Poetic (NYC).
Alice Bishop grew up in Christmas Hills, a town ravaged by the Black Saturday bushfires. A Constant Hum, her much-anticipated debut, was commended by the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for an Unpublished Manuscript and shortlisted for the Penguin Random House Literary Prize. Stories in the collection won the 2017 Lord Mayor’s Prize and the Rachel Funari Prize.
Dr Alice Gorman is an internationally recognised leader in the field of space archaeology. Her research on space junk and lunar heritage has been featured in National Geographic, the New Yorker and Wired. She is an Associate Professor at Flinders University and a faculty member of the International Space University's Southern Hemisphere Space Program in Adelaide.
Her book Dr Space Junk vs the Universe: Archaeology and the Future was published in 2019, and won the Mark and Evette Moran NIB Literary Award People’s Choice. She blogs at Space Age Archaeology.
Margot Tanjutco is a writer, actor and comedian. Her solo show Vanity Fair Enough played at The Coopers Malthouse for Melbourne International Comedy Festival 2019 where she was nominated for the Golden Gibbo. With Melbourne Theatre Company, she was the Associate Director for Benjamin Law’s play Torch The Place, Assistant Director on The Truth, and also developed her own play for MTC’s Cybec Electric 2021. Her work has been featured by ABC’s The Mix and Stop Everything!, The Wheeler Centre and SBS Voices. She has recently performed her original songs at the Enmore Theatre for Mardi Gras, the Malthouse Outdoor Stage for Midsumma Festival, and with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra for The Perfect End To 2020.
Evelyn Araluen is a poet, researcher and co-editor of Overland literary journal. Her widely published criticism, fiction and poetry have been awarded the Nakata Brophy Prize for Young Indigenous Writers, the Judith Wright Poetry Prize, a Wheeler Centre Next Chapter Fellowship, and a Neilma Sidney Literary Travel Fund grant. Born and raised on Dharug Country, she is a descendant of the Bundjalung Nation.
Brodie Lancaster is a Melbourne writer and critic whose work has appeared in Rolling Stone, the Guardian, Pitchfork, the Saturday Paper and New York magazine. Her first book, a pop culture memoir called No Way! Okay, Fine was published by Hachette in 2017. She co-hosts Fan Grrrls, a podcast about footy and feelings.