Economics, business & marketing
Books and Ideas at Montalto
Simon Schama is a familiar figure on the BBC as well as a professor at Columbia University, and he’s produced multi-volume histories of Britain, documentaries with momentous names like The American Future and a TV series called Simon Schama’s Power of Art. He's a heavyweight scholar, best known for in-depth works on French history, Jewish history, art history and Dutch history. But he’s also a writer of great versatility who has concerned himself – through his columns for the New Yorker and the Financial Times – with a dizzying array of topics, from poetry and baseball to Tom Waits and ice-cream.
At Montalto, in conversation with David Hansen, he draws from his new BBC series, Civilisations – which explores the origins of human creativity, and its universal importance – and from … well, millenia of artworks and ideas.
The Wheeler Centre
Claire G. Coleman: The Old Lie
Tyson Yunkaporta and Claire G. Coleman at the Wheeler Centre
Claire G. Coleman believes speculative fiction is a powerful political tool. ‘It’s a genre in which there’s great scope for Aboriginal literature … It’s able to sneak politics into places people don’t expect to see it.'
Coleman's revelatory 2017 debut novel, Terra Nullius, depicted an alternative Australia – a continent of either the distant past or the distant future – with an entire, brutal ‘future history’ constructed in meticulous detail. The novel received local and international critical acclaim and was shortlisted for the Stella Prize.
Every Aboriginal piece of literature is apocalyptic, because Aboriginal people are a post-apocalyptic people.
With Coleman's new book, The Old Lie, she returns to themes of invasion, dispossession and apocalypse. Again, it's a novel of startling and alarming twists. And again, it's an outstanding contribution to the growing body of superb speculative fiction from Aboriginal authors, also including Alexis Wright and Ellen van Neerven.
For this conversation, Coleman is joined by Tyson Yunkaporta, author of Sand Talk: How Indigenous Thinking Can Save the World. The pair discuss craft, creativity and Indigenous imaginations. Does speculative fiction have in-built critical mechanisms that especially serve Indigenous authors?
Working with Words: Tiger Webb
We spoke with Tiger Webb, who helps maintain the ABC's style guide and a pronunciation database, about the clarifying effect of boredom, the question of needless words and an ice cream sandwich factory.
The Wheeler Centre
We Are Here: Stories of Home, Place and Belonging
Homelessness can take many guises – sleeping rough, yes, but also couch-surfing, squatting, or staying in a refuge, boarding house or caravan park. The same can be said of the people who experience homelessness. Not defined simply by their predicament, they’re a diverse group. They may be siblings, parents, grandparents; people who study or work; people who’ve moved or migrated, yet to find their feet. People with full lives, and much to offer.
A new profit-for-purpose book from Affirm Press, We Are Here: Stories of Home, Place and Belonging, is a testament to the unique insights of people who’ve known homelessness in Australia. Edited by novelist, homelessness researcher and former Big Issue deputy editor Meg Mundell, it offers a bounty of extraordinary true stories from a wide range of writers – prominent names, emerging voices and first-timers – who have themselves experienced homelessness. Behrouz Boochani, Krissy Kneen and Claire G. Coleman appear alongside undiscovered talents, exploring the idea of place – and how our sense of it changes when homeless.
Hosted by Mundell, and presented in partnership with Writers Victoria, hear from contributors Claire G. Coleman, Roderick Waller, Ayub Abdi-Barre and Jody Letts about their stories, their places and their writing. Hear readings from the book – and learn about the process of putting it together – at this celebration of survival, place and belonging.
'It’d be near-impossible to read this rich and humane mosaic of stories and not have how you conceive of homelessness completely reframed. A beautiful testament to survival, resilience and hope.' – Benjamin Law
Prefer to watch? Catch up on our live-streamed video below. Includes Auslan interpretation.We Are Here: Stories of Home, Place and Belonging Watch
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.
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