How do you write about completely different ways of being in the world? When Drusilla Modjeska decided to write about PNG and its people, she discovered that her usual, biographical approach to writing was at odds with her subject.
In this annual lecture, the author of Poppy, Stravinsky's Lunch and The Mountain, explores what happens when biography, autobiography and memoir are unable to tell the story.
Includes refreshments and book signing.
Thursday 26 September, 6 pm
BOOKED OUT: Call our bookings line for more information 02 6262 1271 (Mon-Fri 9am-12pm)
Supported by John and Heather Seymour, Australian Book Review and the National Library of Australia
Drusilla Modjeska was born in London in 1946 and raised in Hampshire, the eldest of three sisters. At twenty, she married an anthropologist, and together they left for Papua New Guinea. Her years there, including as a student at the University of Papua New Guinea, laid the basis for her enduring interest in the Pacific and in Papua New Guinea in particular.
In 1971 she moved to Australia. Her first book, Exiles At Home, was published in 1981. Poppy (1990), a 'fictional biography' of her mother, won the National Book Council Banjo Award for Non-Fiction, the NSW Premier's Douglas Stewart Prize for Non-Fiction and was shortlisted for the Fawcett and PEN International Awards. The Orchard (1994) also won the NSW Premier's Douglas Stewart Award for Non-Fiction and the Nita Kibble Literary Award, as did Stravinsky's Lunch (1999), which explored the lives of the Australian modernist artists Grace Cossington Smith and Stella Bowen.
In 2004 Drusilla Modjeska was one of the first outsiders to visit the barkcloth artists of Ömie in Oro Province, Papua New Guinea, from which The Mountain's fictional mountain people are drawn. She now returns to PNG frequently, and in 2011 co-founded the SEAM fund - Sustain Education Art Melanesia.