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While there’s a long tradition of books about life in or around the AFL – and prominent journalists like Caroline Wilson, Sam Lane and Kelli Underwood hold high-profile positions in football culture – there has also been a measurable absence of women in football’s literary canon.
Until recently, that is. In 2013, Nicole Hayes’ novel The Whole of My World looked at the complexity of female football fandom through the lens of fiction; almost simultaneously, Anna Krien’s journalistic examination of sex, power and gender in football was published as Night Games. Since then, Miriam Sved’s Game Day has inhabited the structure and struggle of the AFL, while in The Family Men, Catherine Harris grapples with the intricacies of male kinship that the sport demands.
Coinciding with the very first match of the 2015 Premiership season, Hayes, Sved and Harris will come together for a lunchtime discussion about the role, contributions, challenges and perspectives of women storytellers in the manly world of Aussie rules. Hosted by Triple R Breakfasters co-host (and fellow footy fanatic) Alicia Sometimes.
Miriam Sved’s fiction has appeared in various places including Meanjin, Overland, Best Australian Stories and the anthology Just Between Us: Australian Writers Tell the Truth about Female Friendship. Her first novel, Game Day (Picador), is set in and around a Victorian AFL club. She teaches creative writing at Melbourne University.
Catherine Harris’ short story collection, Like Being A Wife (Random House), was shortlisted for the 2011 Age Fiction Prize, the 2011 Barbara Jefferis award and as a manuscript for the 2009 Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards. Her prose and essays have been published in Australia, Canada, England and the USA.
She won the 2009 Josephine Ulrick Literature Prize and has since been shortlisted for several national and international awards, including the Fish International Short Story Prize and the Bridport Prize. Her novel, The Family Men, is published by Black Inc.
Alicia Sometimes is a writer, poet, broadcaster and musician.
Nicole Hayes is an award winning author and one-sixth of the award winning AFL podcast/radio show, The Outer Sanctum (on the ABC). Her debut novel, The Whole of My World, a #MeToo novel about a teenage girl obsessed with footy, was longlisted for the Gold Inky award and helped inspire The Outer Sanctum. With Alicia Sometimes, she co-edited an anthology, From the Outer: Footy Like You’ve Never Heard It (2016), and A Footy Girl’s Guide to the Stars of 2017. Her most recent novel, A Shadow’s Breath, was shortlisted for the NSW Premier’s Literary Award, and One True Thing won the Children’s Peace Literature Award. She runs workshops and public events with a focus on writing, gender and sport.
We love exploring ideas here at the Wheeler Centre, and encouraging others to do the same. That’s why every second Thursday lunchtime, we hand the microphone over to thinkers, dreamers, writers and orators, so they can share the ideas that have been occupying them the most.
It’s a space to tunnel deep into a train of thought and emerge with surprising conclusions, recommendations for change, or simply a more evolved set of questions. The flexible format provides a platform for the eclectic, topical and enlightening: stories and opinions you won’t hear elsewhere.
Come for your lunch break and leave refreshed, your brain buzzing.