Amazing Women at the National Library 2009

On Monday 12 October 2009, the National Library of Australia celebrated the rich contribution of women to Australian life.

This contribution is reflected in the National Library’s collection which includes material relating to women such as Dame Nellie Melba, Daisy Bates, Dame Enid Lyons, Dr Anne Summers and Mem Fox. Amazing Women is an opportunity for the National Library to highlight the significant role women have played in the development of our collection and to celebrate the contribution women are making to contemporary Australia’s cultural and intellectual life.

Our special guests included Thérèse Rein, Geraldine Doogue and Kate Grenville. It was a tremendous success. The event booked out within days and over 200 women came to ‘the party’, a joyous evening of inspiration and celebration. I think the response to the event revealed a strong interest within the community to recognise women’s achievements and our ability to inspire each other.

Like schoolchildren sitting cross-legged on the classroom floor, we gathered in the foyer of the National Library of Australia. Bedazzled by the radiant smile of Thérèse Rein, we listened as she coyly admitted to reading Pride and Prejudice each Christmas and catching up with a good friend every year. We shared with Kate Grenville her realisation that suburban Australia could provide the setting for ‘big stories’. We were captivated by the mellifluous voice of Geraldine Doogue as she read her favourite passage from her favourite book, A.S. Byatt's Possession. We all longed for more, hardly believing were we sitting there listening to these incredible women.Deborah Thomas, General Manager, Special Projects and Women’s Lifestyle, ACP Magazines, and a member of the National Library Council, hosted the evening and provided a graceful link between each speaker.

The women remembered the joys of being girls and reading with their parents, and how their lifelong love of books had been fostered by simple bedtime reading routines and snuggling up with mum or dad and a favourite story.

The event was a wonderful success for the Library—demand was so high that tickets sold out in one day. Guests commented how they relished the chance to listen to these special women talk about their love of literature. To borrow Thérèse Rein’s refreshing and evocative phrase, the audience celebrated wearing eau de livre and sharing joie de vivre.

Thérèse Rein's speaking notes from Amazing Women 2009

The next Amazing Women event will be held at the National Library of Australia in late 2010.

For further information about Amazing Women in 2010 please contact:

Therese Rein speaking at the Amazing Women event at the National Library of Australia, Canberra, 12 October 2009

Thérèse Rein speaking at Amazing Women at the National Library of Australia, Canberra, 12 October 2009 / Photographer: Samuel Cooper

Kate Grenville at the Amazing Women event at the National Library of Australia, Canberra, 12 October 2009

Kate Grenville at Amazing Women at the National Library of Australia, Canberra, 12 October 2009 / Photographer: Samuel Cooper

Geraldine Doogue AO confiding in a captivated crowd at Amazing Women 12 October 2009

Geraldine Doogue AO confiding in a captivated crowd at Amazing Women, 12 October 2009 / Photographer: Samuel Cooper

Deborah Thomas at the Amazing Women event at the National Library of Australia, Canberra, 12 October 2009

Deborah Thomas at Amazing Women at the National Library of Australia, Canberra, 12 October 2009 / Photographer: Samuel Cooper

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For further information about Amazing Women in 2010 please contact: events@nla.gov.au