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Dear Prudence: Life Lessons with Daniel M Lavery

“I want to be responsible towards the person asking the question to the best of my ability, but the good news is I have no real power over them. And so, when we separate, I don’t feel like, ‘Oh man, I might have just ruined someone’s life’ or decided whether or not they’re going to have a child. Ultimately the decision is very much theirs.” – Daniel M Lavery.

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Every week, millions of people visit Slate to read ‘Dear Prudence,’ an advice column offering indispensable life lessons with equal doses of humour and practicality. For five years, American writer Daniel M Lavery provided guidance as the titular Prudence, helping thousands of readers navigate tricky social situations and modern etiquette dilemmas.

After developing a loyal readership with his books Texts From Jane Eyre, The Merry Spinster and Something That May Shock and Discredit You, Lavery’s latest work recounts his time at ‘Dear Prudence’, collecting some of the most illuminating and provocative questions and their answers during his tenure.

In this episode recorded as part of the Wheeler Centre’s World of Words, Lavery brings his much-loved, and often much-needed, advice down under for a conversation with writer and broadcaster Jess McGuire. He speaks about his era as ‘Prudie’, revisiting and revising guidance over time, and some of the life lessons he has learnt in the process. He also doles out advice to members of the audience who were given the chance to ask about their own sticky questions.


This event was supported by the Melbourne City Revitalisation Fund, a Victorian Government and City of Melbourne partnership.

It was recorded on Tuesday 23 May at the Wheeler Centre as part of World of Words.

Featured music is Golden Hour by Sarah, the Illstrumentalist.

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