Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Unfinished Business: Women Of Letters

The amazing Women of Letters project going on in Melbourne sells out in lightening speed every month - further evidenced by next month's afternoon being all sold out by 10.45am this morning - and so upon seeing a handful of balcony seats up for grabs last week, I grabbed two quick smart!

Jessie and I drove across to Thornbury Theatre of the 'afternoon of literature and correspondence' with much anticipation. A concept to bring women and writing together, and the old fashioned idea of penning letters. I have heard such great things about these afternoons, and we were not disappointed!

5 amazing women on the panel read out their letters to their 'unfinished business'. Kate Mulvany was first, actress and playwrite, and a young lady who has had so many challenges thrown her way - her letter was so very personal and revealing and I doubt that there was anyone left in the room with a dry eye once she had finished.

Sally Heath, Associate Publisher with Melbourne University Press, was next and spoke to all the writers who had submitted works to her for review and comment. Then Ailsa Piper, actor, writer and director, took the podium and shared the story of her upbringing and exposure to Indigenous languages and culture. So beautiful, thought-provoking and amazing.

Feminist writer Helen Garner was next, and she too shared a deeply personal account of the decisions made at a point in her life when she wished she had have followed her own path, rather then listen to others. A powerful tale that made us all ponder the decisions we make, and why.

Finally Sarah Blasko, Aussie singer-songwriter, shared her letter to her childhood immersion in religion and how she views it now. Rather than stumble through some of the parts spoken, Sarah ended up singing the end, which seemed so much more natural for her. And her voice soared within this theatre space - and made the anticipation of the new album all the more great!

A break to allow us all to absorb the stories we had just heard, perhaps pen a letter ourselves, for the audience to submit questions to the panel, and to return to the bar for another wine. The ladies then returned to stage for a panel discussion, sharing more very personal stories, and answering the questions from the floor.

What an amazing, and inspiring afternoon, full of personal stories, lessons learnt, wisdom and some tears.


  1. I've never heard of this before; it's a monthly thing?? I will have to check out the details, it sounds great.

    1. Yeap, every month. And they seem to do some travelling shows too - I see one coming up soon in Newcastle. The events are listed here - http://womenofletters.com.au/?page_id=1525
      But also best to keep your eye out via the FB page.


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