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Biography & memoir
A Night with Geoffrey Robertson
He’s sparred with General Pinochet and Princess Diana. He’s stepped out with Nigella Lawson and, of course, Kathy Lette. He’s defended Salman Rushdie and worked alongside Amal Clooney. Geoffrey Robertson is a figure of uncommon energy, glamour and intellect.
Alongside his distinguished career as a human rights lawyer in London, Robertson has, for more than 30 years, enjoyed a parallel…
The Fifth Estate
Sally Warhaft and Derryn Hinch — Photo: Jon Tjhia
Derryn Hinch is among the Australian media’s most controversial and unpredictable characters. He’s the former editor of the Sun and the former New York bureau chief for Fairfax. He’s been sacked from high-rating shows on Channel Seven and 3AW and he’s received on-air death threats from gangsters. He’s written 14 books, been jailed twice, married five times, toured with The Rocky Horror Picture Show and undergone liver transplant surgery.
As a veteran broadcaster, journalist and activist, Derryn Hinch has been dubbed ‘the human headline’ – as often the subject, as the reporter, of news. Over the years, he’s embraced the moniker, using his notoriety to crusade for causes he cares about, especially criminal justice reform.
Now a Victorian Senator with his own political party, Hinch continues to work towards tougher penalties for convicted criminals. His new book, Hinch Vs Canberra, describes his late-in-life foray into federal politics. With Sally Warhaft, Hinch talks about crime, contempt, the media and the world of Canberra politics.
The Wheeler Centre
The Wheeler Centre Gala 2018: Words on Fire: Leah Purcell
For the 2018 Wheeler Centre Gala Night of Storytelling, we invited our speakers to probe a blazing, hot topic: 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.
In this episode, actor, director and writer Leah Purcell tells us about eight words and slogans that 'lit my fire, fired me up and almost smothered it out'.
Leah Purcell, on stage at the Athenaeum Theatre — Photo: Jon Tjhia
Working with Words: Michelle Scott Tucker
Michelle Scott Tucker is the author of a new biography of the fascinating farming entrepreneur, Elizabeth Macarthur. She spoke with us about deadlines, dead ponies and derivative bush ballads written from deep suburbia.
The Fifth Estate
The President’s Pen
Pat Cunnane — Photo: Jon Tjhia
‘What’s a POTUS?’
Pat Cunnane, aged 22, asked a co-worker this question on one of his first days working at the White House. It’s safe to say he figured out the answer pretty quickly, rising from his first job as White House media monitor to become the senior writer and deputy director for messaging for the POTUS himself, Barack Obama.
In Cunnane’s new book, West Winging It: An Unpresidential Memoir, he gives fascinating insider’s account of his six years working at the heart of the Obama administration. During these years, Cunnane wrangled reporters and photographers and wrote statements, opinion pieces and even jokes in the former President’s voice. He was there for the big moments and the small and he was there, of course, for the surprise transition to Donald Trump.
With Sally Warhaft, Cunnane talks about what it’s like writing the words that would shape hearts and minds of a nation, and the world. He also shares his thoughts on the American presidency then and now – and the minutiae of daily working life in the White House – talking Trump and Twitter; history and hope.
Sally Warhaft and Pat Cunnane — Photo: Jon Tjhia
The Wheeler Centre
The Politics of Biography
In this year’s Hazel Rowley Memorial Lecture, Jenny Hocking explores a matter that goes to the heart of questions of power and sovereignty in Australia, the secret role of the Palace in the dismissal of the Whitlam government, and her latest book, The Dismissal Dossier: Everything You Were Never Meant to Know About November 1975 – the Palace Connection.
‘It is now more than 40 years since the dismissal of the Whitlam government and the palace continues to treat us as the recalcitrant colonial child, not to be trusted with such a dangerous thing as knowledge of our own history.’
Gough Whitlam's award-winning biographer Jenny Hocking is pursuing the release of letters between Governor General John Kerr, the Queen, Prince Charles and the Queen’s private secretary, Martin Charteris, through Federal Court action against the National Archives of Australia. Under instructions from the Queen, these letters are embargoed. Do Australians know the full story of the dismissal of Prime Minister Gough Whitlam and the extent of the Queen’s involvement?
Presented in partnership with Writers Victoria and the Hazel Rowley Literary Fellowship.
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