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Things My Mother Never Told Me

When

Let’s hear it for mothers: the ones we choose, the ones who chose us, those who birthed us, mothers-in-law, step-mothers, foster mothers. There for us, before us, showing the way. But sometimes we learn as much from the absences and silences as we do from the considered advice and life lessons. All the guidance and care, rants and  sympathetic sit–downs in the world can still leave us unprepared for what life throws at us.

In a powerful evening of readings and performances, reflections and song, our all-star gala line-up will fill empty spaces in their own pasts with the conversations they wish they had and the things they needed to hear. This airing of unspoken truths may be funny, complicated, angry, vulnerable, messy, or tender. But they’ll all leave you vowing to speak up, over–share, and probably call somebody you love.

With Aretha Brown, Ariel Levy, Bhenji Ra, Clare Wright, Courtney Barnett, Curtis Sittenfeld, Fran Kelly, Maria Tumarkin, Mehreen Faruqi, Nayuka Gorrie, Nicole Lee, Patricia Cornelius and Raquel Willis.

This event will be Auslan interpreted.

Featuring

Aretha Brown

In 2017, Aretha Brown delivered an impassioned speech at the Invasion Day Rally in Melbourne, fighting to make Indigenous history education mainstream. Her delivery and ideas led her to be elected as Prime Minister of the National Indigenous Youth Parliament, the youngest ever person — and the fir... Read more

Ariel Levy

‘I wanted what we all want: everything. We want a mate who feels like family and a lover who is exotic, surprising. We want to be youthful adventurers and middle-aged mothers. We want intimacy and autonomy, safety and stimulation, reassurance and novelty, coziness and thrills. But we can’t have... Read more

Bhenji Ra

‘I think if we’re talking about popular feminism’s inclusion of trans and gender-diverse people, non-binary people, we’re not even scratching the surface.’ Bhenji Ra is an interdisciplinary artist. Her practice combines dance, choreography, video, installation and club events. She is th... Read more

Courtney Barnett

‘I’m not your mother, I’m not your bitch.’ Since her debut album Sometimes I Sit And Think, And Sometimes I Just Sit, Courtney Barnett has been celebrated as one of the most distinctive and compelling voices in rock, an artist who mixes insightful observations with devastating self-assessme... Read more

Clare Wright

‘I am a feminist therefore I commit feminist acts. I’m not going to undermine the political importance of what I do.’ La Trobe University historian Professor Clare Wright has worked as an author, academic, political speechwriter, historical consultant, and radio and TV broadcaster. Her latest... Read more

Curtis Sittenfeld

‘Sometimes, there can be a slightly condescending assumption that anything unlikable about a female character is a mistake, as if they’re a contestant in a beauty pageant and have to seem charming and upbeat all the time.’ Curtis Sittenfeld is the bestselling author of five novels – ... Read more

Fran Kelly

‘Let me remind any women of any generation still worried by the tag … feminism is about equality, political equality, economic equality, cultural equality, personal equality, social equality. That’s it, it’s as simple as that.’ Fran Kelly is one of Australia’s leading politic... Read more

Nayuka Gorrie

Nayuka Gorrie is a Gunnai/Kurnai, Gunditjmara, Wiradjuri and Yorta Yorta essayist and screenwriter.

Maria Tumarkin

Maria Tumarkin writes books, essays, reviews, and pieces for performance and radio; she collaborates with sound and visual artists and has had her work carved into dockside tiles. She is the author of four books of ideas. Her fourth (and latest) book Axiomatic won the 2018 Melbourne Prize for Lit... Read more

Mehreen Faruqi

‘I see an unashamedly feminist country where the patriarchy is dismantled, where access to abortion is unambiguously legal, where the safety of women is of the utmost importance and violence against women is confronted as the crisis that it is.’ Mehreen Faruqi is the Greens’ Senator for New S... Read more

Nicole Lee

‘We can’t get away from the fact that women with disabilities are vulnerable. Society is slowly changing, but as much as people hate hearing it women are already on the back foot and then you add a disability … we’re so much further behind.’ Nicole Lee is a family violence survivor an... Read more

Patricia Cornelius

‘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 ... Read more

Raquel Willis

‘As we commit to each other to build this movement of resistance and liberation, no one can be an afterthought.’ Raquel Willis is a Black queer transgender activist, writer and speaker dedicated to inspiring and elevating marginalized individuals, particularly transgender women of color. She is... Read more

Location

Melbourne Town Hall

90-120 Swanston Street Melbourne Victoria 3000

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Acknowledgment of Country

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.