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Friday High Five: Best of the Best (Books of 2014)

We thought we’d say goodbye to 2014 by making it easy for you to make some last-minute Christmas gift – and summer reading choices. Here are five of the handiest retrospectives on the best books of 2014, all of them Australian (and some of them by us).

File under: Dailies (19 Dec 14)

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Working with Words: Harry Saddler

We speak to Melbourne writer Harry Saddler about needing a day job that’s not challenging in order to write, why if you’ve been told not to do something in your writing, that’s exactly what you should do, and his dream date with Lizzie Bennett.

File under: Dailies (18 Dec 14)

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Writing While Female, Reading (Women) While Male

Maxine Beneba Clarke tells us about her Twitter initiative #writingwhilefemale – why she started it, why the conversation is important – and how it grew into a valuable catalogue of experiences. (And launched a companion thread, #menreadingwomen.)

File under: Dailies (17 Dec 14)

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Why We Should Respond to Climate Change with Patience, Not Panic: Tony Birch

Tony Birch reflects on why urgency (in our rhetoric, at least) is a counterproductive response to climate change. Instead, he argues, we need patience: ‘the only means by which change of substance will eventuate’.

File under: Dailies (16 Dec 14)

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Wheeler Centre Staff Best Books 2014

Every year at this time, the Wheeler Centre staff share our favourite books of 2014. And look out for director Michael Williams' best books in a later instalment!

File under: Dailies (15 Dec 14)

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Well May We Say

File under: Videos (14 Dec 14)

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Thomas Keneally

File under: Videos (13 Dec 14)

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Medium Rare

File under: Videos (12 Dec 14)

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Friday High Five: Doris Lessing, Richard Flanagan and Day Jobs

Read Richard Flanagan’s reasoning for donating his Prime Minister’s Prize for Fiction money ($40,000) to the Indigenous Literacy Foundation. Why was a fake Paris planned during World War II? Writer Jenny Diski on being taken in by Doris Lessing. President Obama writes a computer program. And Emily St John Mandel reflects on writers and their day jobs.

File under: Dailies (12 Dec 14)

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The Fifth Estate: The Prime Ministers' Chiefs

File under: Videos (11 Dec 14)

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Intersex Bodies and the Society That Shapes Them

Morgan Carpenter, president of Organisation Intersex International Australia, outlines the human rights issues facing intersex people, in Australia and around the world. He also explains their mental health impact … and what we can do to help challenge the status quo.

File under: Dailies (11 Dec 14)

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Science Fiction Addiction

File under: Videos (11 Dec 14)

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Don Watson: The Bush

File under: Videos (10 Dec 14)

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Monica Weightman

Monica Weightman is a musician and Murri woman. She grew up in Townsville, influenced by her Islander father Ray but with the musical genes of her Scottish-English-Italian mother. Although she never really associated with the large Torres Strait Islander community in Townsville, she said she had more recently been seeking out more of the heritage that so clearly shaped her songs.

File under: Presenters

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Working with Words: Lee Kofman

We talk to Lee Kofman, author of The Dangerous Bride, about writing in cafes, being told not to write in English because it’s her second language, and organising parties in night clubs to avoid writing.

File under: Dailies (10 Dec 14)

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Whale Wars: Sam Vincent

File under: Videos (09 Dec 14)

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Call Me in the Mourning: A Writer in Residence at the Morbid Anatomy Museum

Leah Kaminsky was recently the inaugural writer-in-residence at the Morbid Anatomy Museum in Brooklyn, researching a book on death anxiety. She reports back (with pictures) on her unique writing residency.

File under: Dailies (09 Dec 14)

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Robert Dessaix: What Days Are For

File under: Videos (08 Dec 14)

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The Show of the Year

It’s back, by popular demand! Join us for a fresh instalment of our new annual tradition: The Show of the Year.

With a stellar line-up of talent, we’ll hold a mirror to the highlights, lowlights

File under: Calendar

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Two Men Kissing: On Normalising Same-Sex Affection for Kids

Angela Savage was shocked when her daughter reacted to a card featuring two men kissing with disgust – despite knowing and accepting the family’s wide circle of gay and lesbian friends. Heterosexual affection is everywhere, but she’d never really witnessed same-sex affection. Angela decided to research how to normalise it in an age-appropriate way … and found it surprisingly difficult.

File under: Dailies (08 Dec 14)

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Friday High Five: Bad Sex and Twitter Meltdowns

Ayelet Waldman has Twitter meltdown after not being included in the New York Times 100 notable books 2014. Stephen Hawking suggests artifical intelligence could end the human race. The case for and against Serial. Remembering Mr Squiggle. And the bad sex in fiction award goes off like a rocket …

File under: Dailies (05 Dec 14)

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Working with Words: Eli Glasman

We speak to Hot Desk Fellow Eli Glasman, author of The Boy’s Own Manual to Being a Proper Jew, about his love of Q&As, the fact that people find him funny (even though he sees himself as an intensely serious person), and why beefing up the word count makes for boring reading.

File under: Dailies (04 Dec 14)

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The Stella Prize Goes to School

File under: Videos (04 Dec 14)

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Future Summer: Meaghan Bell, Hot Desk Fellowships 2014

Meaghan Bell’s Future Summer is a series of poems investigating the apocalyptic outcomes of global warming and climate change. The aim is to develop a series of 13 poems which will then be made into a chap-book. While there are many depressing visions of a dystopian future, this series reflects possible utopian visions, which engenders hope and a desire to act.

File under: Dailies (03 Dec 14)

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The Johnston Tradition: Kieran Stevenson, Hot Desk Fellowships 2014

Kieran Stevenson’s The Johnston Tradition is a novel that follows Padraig Johnston, a young man who has fallen into a life of alcoholic isolation since the suicide of his father when he was 19. Here’s an extract from the novel, in our latest Wheeler Centre Hot Desk extracts.

File under: Dailies (02 Dec 14)

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Istanbul 3.6 - Deranged Collector: Ender Baskan, Hot Desk Fellowships 2014

Ender Baskan’s Welcome Home is a memoir about growing up in today’s Australia, and his journey to Turkey, as the only child of Turkish migrants, ‘to try to explain myself to myself’. It’s part travel story, part meditation on migrant life.

File under: Dailies (01 Dec 14)

What is the
Wheeler Centre?

The Wheeler Centre is Melbourne’s home for smart, passionate and entertaining public talks on every topic.

Across 200+ events each year, you’ll find some of our finest local and international thinkers and speakers, sharing their expertise, their imagination and their ideas.

The majority of events are free.

The Wheeler Centre is the centrepiece of the Victorian Government’s City of Literature initiative.

Where to
find us

The Wheeler Centre Auditorium

176 Little Lonsdale Street
Victoria 3000

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