We’re probing a blazing, hot topic at the 2018 Wheeler Centre Gala Night of Storytelling: the power of the written word and the loaded tenets of speech.
When do words inspire and when do they incite? When is speech free, and when is it hateful? Fighting words, funny words, insulting words and incendiary words – for better or for worse, language moves us and it matters.
For our first event of the 2018 Wheeler Centre programme, we’re bringing together 10 superb speakers to reflect on the words that have changed their lives. They’ll share captivating insights from the great writers and orators. And they’ll reflect on enraging – even endangering – insults from the bullies, the provocateurs and the well-meaning, but not well-informed.
Jump with us out of the frying pan and into the fire for a combustible evening of storytelling. #WordsOnFire
This event will be Auslan interpreted.
Readings will be our bookseller for this event.
Tony Birch is the author of three novels: the bestselling The White Girl, winner of the 2020 NSW Premier's Award for Indigenous Writing, and shortlisted for the 2020 Miles Franklin Literary Prize; Ghost River, winner of the 2016 Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for Indigenous Writing, and Blood, which was shortlisted for the Miles Franklin Award in 2012. He is also the author of Shadowboxing, and three short story collections – Father’s Day, The Promise and Common People.
In 2017 Tony was awarded the Patrick White Literary Award. In 2021 he will release two new books, a poetry collection, Whisper Songs, and a new short story collection, Dark as Last Night. Tony Birch is also an activist, historian and essayist.
Rosie Waterland is a Sydney-based author, columnist and screenwriter. Her first novel, The Anti-Cool Girl, published through HarperCollins in 2015, won the ABIA People’s Choice Matt Richell Award for New Writer of the Year, and was recently shortlisted for the Russell Prize for Humour Writing.
Leah Purcell is an internationally acclaimed director, writer and actor.
Omar Musa is a Malaysian-Australian rapper and poet from Queanbeyan, Australia. He is the former winner of the Australian Poetry Slam and the Indian Ocean Poetry Slam. His first book is Here Come the Dogs.
Moira Finucane is a writer, director, performer and creator of volcanic and magic realist worlds … legendary salons, literary variety and intimate theatrical spectacles, internationally renowned for her arresting mix of provocation and entertainment.
Sally Warhaft is a Melbourne broadcaster, anthropologist and writer. She is the host of The Fifth Estate, the Wheeler Centre’s live series focusing on journalism, politics, media, and international relations, and The Leap Year, a Wheeler Centre podcast about Australians' lives in the fog of the Covid-19 pandemic. She is a former editor of the Monthly magazine and the author of the bestselling book Well May We Say: The Speeches that Made Australia.
Sally is a regular host and commentator on ABC radio and has a PhD in anthropology. She did her fieldwork in Mumbai, India, living by the seashore with the local fishing community.
‘You pay a price to be able to talk about your own country in the works in a really truthful and brutal way. A lot of people don’t want to hear that.’
Patricia Cornelius is a playwright of rare courage and power. As a founding member of Melbourne Workers Theatre, Patricia Cornelius has spent her career drawing attention to marginalised lives and issues surrounding class. Cornelius has written more than 35 plays, including Slut, The Call, Shit and Savages. She also co-wrote the Australian classic, Who’s Afraid of the Working Class? Cornelius is the recipient of the 2019 Windham Campbell Prize for Drama.
Carly Findlay OAM is a writer, speaker and appearance activist. She is the author of memoir Say Hello and the editor of Growing Up Disabled in Australia. She has been published in the ABC, the Guardian, the Age, the Sydney Morning Herald, CNN and Vogue.
Rachael Maza is one of Australia’s most recognisable faces of the Australian film, television and theatre industry with performance credits including the Australian Film Institute (AFI) award-winning Radiance and the stage production of The Sapphires.
Nevo Zisin (they/them) is a queer, non-binary, Jewish writer, performer, activist and public speaker based in Naarm / Birraranga / Melbourne. They run workshops in schools and professional development trainings in workplaces around transgender identities. Author of award-winning Finding Nevo (2017), a memoir on gender transition and The Pronoun Lowdown (2021), a useful guidebook on all things related to pronouns.