Important Australian writers address the themes of love, desire and intimacy in Love&Desire – Literature and the Intimate, a two day conference at the National Library of Australia on 23 and 24 September.

The conference delves into the heart of the creative process as writers share their thoughts on some big questions – ‘What do they think of the scenes of intimacy and desire that they create?’ ‘How much do they draw on their own experiences of love and sex in their writing?’ ‘What similarities does the creative writing process share with love and desire?’

Dr Paul Hetherington, Director Publications and Events, National Library of Australia developed the program. “This major conference addresses themes that are common to all of us but which are rarely discussed in a public forum. The speakers, all of whom are of an exceptionally high calibre, will bring a level of personal experience that will make it a deeply satisfying event for the audience,” he said.

David Malouf, one of Australia’s most distinguished writers opens the conference with the Kenneth Binns Lecture entitled ‘Love and Literature’. His lecture explores intimacy and desire in literature and our understanding of what it is to be human.

This paves the way for topics including ‘Love and Obsession’, ‘The Body in Writing’, ‘Intimate Histories’, ‘Family and ‘Friends’ and ‘Writing Desire’.

Poetry, often synonymous with love, is well represented by Dorothy Porter as she stirs the pot with the question ‘Does poetry do sex and violence better than prose?’

Nick Earls is the guest speaker at the conference dinner on Saturday 23 September. He addresses the main theme with reference to his work which includes Bachelor Kisses and Monica Bloom.

Other speakers: Fiona Giles, Lucy Dougan, Michael McGirr, Gail Jones, Leigh Redhead, Marion Halligan, Brenda Walker, Deborah Robertson, Brian Castro, Charlotte Wood, David Brooks, Carmel Bird, Helen Ennis, Hsu-Ming Teo, Beverley Farmer, Rosie Scott and Peter Rose.

The conference will be preceded by Perfect Match or Perfect Marketing: the Science of Speed Dating, an evening with Lish Hogge exploring the science of sexiness and the chemistry of love. Friday 22 September, National Library Foyer.

Fees and conference program at


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