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Writers on Campus – Writing the Past

La Trobe University Library

Event Date: 29 March 2023
Author / Presenters: Judith Brett, Katie Holmes and Kelly Gardiner

‘Good history is a high-wire gravity-defying act of balance and grace,’ Tom Griffiths wrote recently, describing historians as writers who, ‘have to forsake their own world for a period – and then, somehow, find their way back.’

In our first session of Writers on Campus for 2023 we speak with two historians who are adept at walking that high-wire, and at time travel. Come hear two of La Trobe’s most acclaimed historians, Judith Brett and Katie Holmes, discuss why they do what they do, and how they approach the work and craft of making history, in conversation with Kelly Gardiner.

Judith Brett (AM) is an Emeritus Professor of politics at La Trobe University and an award-winning author and frequent media contributor who is committed to engaged political research and bringing the fruits of her enquiry to the general public through books written for a broad readership. Among her publications are Robert Menzies' Forgotten People and Australian Liberals and the Moral Middle Class. In 2017 she published The Enigmatic Mr Deakin which won the National Biography Award. Her most recent book was a highly engaging study of Australia's voting system, From Secret Ballot to Democracy Sausage. Judith writes regularly for The Monthly on contemporary Australian politics.

Katie Holmes an environmental historian and environmental humanities scholar, internationally known for her work on how individuals interact with their culture, society and environment. Her work has helped transform the field of environmental history in Australia into a mode of understanding the experience of Australian settlement, one shaped by climate and landscape which in turn shapes culture and policy. Some of Katie's key books include Mallee Country: Land, People which she co-authored in 2020, Between the Leaves: Stories of Australian women, writing and gardens (2011); Reading the Garden: the settlement of Australia’ (co-author, 2008) and Spaces in her Day: Women's diaries of the 1920s and 1930s (1995). Katie currently holds the Gough Whitlam and Malcolm Fraser Chair in Australian Studies at Harvard University.

Writers on Campus is presented by the Department of Languages & Cultures, hosted by the University Library

Wednesday 29 March, 12.30 pm – 1.30 pm
Borchardt Library, Level 1, Seminar Room 1.34
Bundoora Campus, La Trobe University

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