The Wheeler Centre
Mary Norris: From Comma Queen to Greek Geek
Copy editor and grammar nerd Mary Norris has seen the fabled linguistic traditions of the New Yorker up close – she has worked at the magazine for 40 years, most famously as query proofreader and Comma Queen. That experience forms the backbone of her first book, Between You & Me. ‘I hope writers will see that we are not the enemy,’ she has said of her profession. ‘We love the language.’
In her latest book, Greek to Me, Norris shares her love of all things Greek. Of course, it’s about language – how the Greeks adapted the Phoenician alphabet, and the surprising ways Greek informs English – but it also documents Norris’s encounters with Greek gods, wine, men, and olive groves. Myths are reinterpreted; landmarks are sought out; beautiful coincidences of word and symbol are excavated.
Mary Norris returned to Melbourne for a chat about her travels through Greek language, culture and art (and, of course, so much more) with Penny Modra.
Penny Modra and Mary Norris
The Fifth Estate
In the Closet of the Vatican: Power, Homosexuality, Hypocrisy
Sally Warhaft and Frédéric Martel
The Catholic Church, writes Frédéric Martel, is ‘a system built ... on the homosexual double life and on the most dizzying homophobia … Without this key for understanding, the recent history of the Vatican and the Roman Church remains opaque.'
How is Martel qualified to make such statements? He is an acclaimed academic and journalist in France, and the author of several widely translated books on contemporary culture and political science, including The Pink and the Black, On Culture in America and Global Gay. His latest book, In the Closet of the Vatican: Power, Homosexuality, Hypocrisy, is the result of four years worth of investigative journalism, including hundreds of interviews across many corners of the globe, in efforts to understand the scope and culture of homosexuality within the Catholic Church.
Many of his sources – including priests, cardinals, Vatican administrative staff and sex workers – have spoken to Martel about widespread clerical homosexuality under terms of anonymity. Their combined testimony paints a portrait of a bizarre culture of conspiracy and cover-up, with ramifications that extend way beyond the sexual identities of individual priests and into church policies on contraception, IVF and the handling of cases of sexual abuse.
The Vatican, as Martel describes it, is a place of surreal duplicity. But an investigation with mostly anonymous sources raises its own questions about double standards. Join Martel for a discussion of his remarkable book with Sally Warhaft.
The Fifth Estate
Masha Gessen is an award-winning author and a staff writer at The New Yorker. She speaks to Sally Warhaft about The Future is History: How Totalitarianism Reclaimed Russia, her non-fiction 2017 National Book Award-winning work that charts the coming-of-age of four Russians born in the early 1980s.
Masha Gessen and Sally Warhaft, live at Deakin Edge, Federation Square — Photo: Sophie Quick
Presented in partnership with Melbourne Writers Festival.
The Fifth Estate
Please note that this event will now take place at Deakin Edge, Federation Square.
Masha Gessen is an award-winning author and a staff writer at The New Yorker. She speaks to Sally Warhaft about The Future is History: How Totalitarianism Reclaimed Russia, her non-fiction 2017 National Book Award-winning work that charts the coming-of-age of four Russians born in…
In Other Words: Jorge Carrión on Translation
We often talk about what is lost in translation. But how about how much is gained – for readers, writers and translators themselves?
Catalan-Spanish writer and academic Jorge Carrión is translated in Chinese, Portuguese, Italian, German, French, Polish and English. Most famous in English for his recent book, Bookshops, he’ll join Melbourne-based academic and translator Lilit Thwaites at the…
Griffith Review: Commonwealth Now
For many of us, the Commonwealth is associated, for better or for worse, with the old days of British colonial rule: cricket whites, tea plantations, ‘God Save the Queen’.
But whatever our collective ideas around this unusual global entity are, they likely won’t last much longer. The member states have a combined population of 2.4 billion people and more than…
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