On Events in September, with Chris Gordon
Over the last few weeks, I’ve been fortunate enough to read an early copy of Delia Falconer’s collection of essays, Signs and Wonders. The book explores how it feels to live as a reader, a writer, a lover of nature and a mother of small children in an era of profound ecological change. It is brilliant and we are lucky to have an online event with Falconer on Monday 4 October. One of the themes of the collection is how the present COVID-19 landscape combined with the climate crisis means the joy we used to find in little things – bird nests or warmer days – is now circumscribed by these two global disasters; consequently, things like freedom and planning for the future become more convoluted. I’m sure I’m not alone in feeling bereft at times. Hopeless even.
Other people’s stories help me. Reading changes my outlook. It is the pre-eminent way of escaping or reconfiguring my thinking – to simply marvel at the written art of words. To that end, I want to invite you to be part of my escape plan. Join me, on Zoom, to meet some magic makers.
This month, I am delighted to welcome you to the fourth session of the Readings/ Australian Red Cross online book club on the laws and impact of war (Wed 29 September). In this session, we are joined by one of Australia’s most acclaimed international human rights lawyers, Geoffrey Robertson, to discuss his recent book Bad People – and How to be Rid of Them. Geoffrey Robertson has been a UN war crimes judge and has won landmark civil liberty rulings from the highest courts in Britain, Europe and the Commonwealth. He was Australian Humanitarian of the Year in 2014, and in 2018 was awarded an Order of Australia.
I am also thrilled to be welcoming Helen Garner in conversation with Charlotte Wood (Tues 5 October). Wood’s new book, The Luminous Solution, examines how thinking creatively can help all of us to live richer lives. Drawing on her doctoral studies in creativity, as well as decades of writing, discussion and immersive reading, Wood explores what artists can teach the rest of us about intuition and perseverance, risk, and the wonderful exhilaration of departing from safe territory. I assure you this event will be a tonic for all of us living through this dreadful year.
From our own marvellous Melbourne, Emily Bitto is celebrating the release of Wild Abandon (Wed 29 September). This lyrical and devastating new novel from the Stella Prize-winning author of The Strays offers us startling and profound visions of the world and our place in it.
Reading and sharing stories is my scheme to be the best I can be under these trying circumstances, because other people fill me with hope. And it’s springtime. Please do check our online events calendar here, so that I can see you soon. So we can share.