The Wheeler Centre
Broadside: Helen Garner
'I just threw out all ideas of inspiration years ago. It's all just noticing. You've got to walk around the world looking at things and listening and paying attention.'
In the words of one critic 'to read Helen Garner is to discover what might be her defining characteristic: awakeness and aliveness to the thingness of things'. Garner, a national treasure, has now spent almost half a century showing us who we are and how it is. And she has sharpened this singular style — her humour, sense of the absurd and incisive observation – over a lifetime of writing diaries.
Sarah Krasnostein, left, and Helen Garner — Photo: Hannah Koelmeyer
To coincide with the publication of Yellow Notebook, Diaries Volume I: 1978–1987, Garner shares with us the pages that offer a glimpse into the honing and shaping of a craft. Beginning in the 1970s just after the publication of her first novel, Monkey Grip, the book offers a unique insight into how decades of privately shaped internal dialogue creates a voice, and makes a writer.
In conversation with Sarah Krasnostein, Garner discusses the logic of writing, redacting and publishing one's diaries – as well as reflecting on creativity, the emotionally loaded space of hospitals and courtrooms, the architecture of sentences and her fascination with strangers.
Working with Words: Stephanie Wood
Stephanie Wood is an award-winning longform features writer and the author of Fake. She spoke with us about umlauts, journalism, and why she would be a police detective in another life.
The Wheeler Centre
Susan Orlean: Stranger Than Non-fiction
Susan Orlean at the Athenaeum Theatre — Photo: Jon Tjhia
Susan Orlean writes, writes, writes. For readers of the New Yorker, she’s a must-read – a staff writer since 1992, now part of the furniture. She’s scattered a trail of bylines through Rolling Stone, the Village Voice, Boston Globe, Esquire, Vogue and more. The Spike Jonze film Adaptation was based on her bestselling book The Orchid Thief; Meryl Streep was nominated for an Oscar for her portrayal of the author.
At least part of Orlean’s charm lies in her genuinely omnivorous curiosity. ‘I’m perfectly happy knowing nothing about the subject,’ she explained in a Washington Post interview. ‘In fact, that’s usually much more appealing to me.’ Her features – and books – have covered umbrella inventors, orchid poachers, Twitter phenomenon @Horse_ebooks, backyard chickens. A ten-year-old boy. A German Shepherd that became a movie star. An obscure rock band called The Shaggs. Most recently, in The Library Book, she has written about the unsolved 1986 fire that engulfed the Los Angeles Public Library.
Over decades, she has taken readers into places their minds have never wandered – sometimes, to places right in front of them. For our Mayhem series, this giant of American non-fiction looks back on her legendary career, and its eclectic subjects, in conversation with Sarah Krasnostein.
Working with Words: Luke Horton
Writer and editor Luke Horton on growing up around bookshops, his early detective stories and reading something at the right moment.
Emerging Writers’ Festival Programme Launch: The Awkward Stage
The 2019 Emerging Writers’ Festival launches with a night of readings. What, exactly, is an ‘emerging’ writer? At what point do you come out of the chrysalis?
At this special opening-night event, hear from Kat Clarke, Vidya Rajan, Sumudu Samarawickrama and Ahmed Yussuf, as they each tell us about the first time they considered themselves a writer. Hosted by the…
The Wheeler Centre
Veronica Roth: Divergent Dystopias
Dark, complex and utterly addictive, Veronica Roth's blockbuster dystopian YA novels have ensnared a generation of young readers. In Melbourne for the first time, this superstar of YA sci-fi talks fantasy worlds, fan fiction and unseen, fate-deciding forces with Amie Kaufman.
Photo: Scott Limbrick
Just 22 years old when she wrote the first book in her wildly successful Divergent trilogy, Roth has gone on to sell more than 35 million copies in the series. The Divergent movies have packed cinemas across the world, too – with fans obsessing over Roth's gutsy heroine, Tris, and her epic journey of courage, sacrifice and coming of age in post-apocalyptic Chicago.
With her latest series, Carve the Mark, Roth again presents a dystopian vision. This time, it's a richly imagined intergalactic setting – replete with tyrants, conspiracies, fascinating technology and a powerful, invisible phenomenon known as 'the current'.
Anything and everything in Creativity from across our archives.
Explore these other subjects, across our site.