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Why does ‘i’ come before ‘e’, except after ‘c’? Mary Norris and Jane Caro


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Okay, word nerds – this one’s for you. The New Yorker is famed as a haven for the hardcore; a literary institution with a mythically meticulous devotion to grammar and its rules for use (including many long-jettisoned from the mainstream lexicon). Imagine the pressure of writing this.

Copy editor and grammar guru Mary Norris has been at the heart of The New Yorker’s cherished linguistic traditions for more than thirty years. Her latest book Between You & Me reveals her joy in words and language – with insights and incitements on punctuation, emoticons, swear words and comma splices, as well as correspondences with notable contributors to the magazine. She describes editing a story: ‘First we get the rocks out, Alice. Then we get the pebbles out. Then we get the sand out, and the writer’s voice rises. No harm done.’

Hear from this sage of the page – onstage with award-winning advertising copywriter, author and language buff Jane Caro, a woman whose career has been driven by a passion for words and the connections they create between people and ideas.

They’ll discuss history and change at The New Yorker and reflect on Norris’s lifetime of intimacy with words. Find out what’s lurking in Norris’s tranche of behind-the-scenes gossip – and soak up her deep affection for writing as a tool – as we pursue the last word on good grammar.

Tickets to this event are available at the door. Arrive at least twenty minutes prior to the event to purchase.

Note to early bookers: if you booked tickets to this event prior to Thursday 19 November, some details may have changed. Please check for details.


Mary Norris

Mary Norris is the author of Greek to Me and the New York Times bestseller Between You & Me, an account of her years in the New Yorker copy department. Originally from Cleveland, she lives in New York. Her favourite pencil used to be the Dixon Ticonderoga No. 1, but she now makes do with th... Read more

Jane Caro

Jane Caro AM is a Walkley Award-winning Australian columnist, author, novelist, broadcaster, advertising writer, documentary maker, feminist and social commentator. Jane appears frequently on Q&A, The Drum and Sunrise. She has created and presented five documentary series for ABC’s Compass... Read more


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