Friday, March 21, 2014

The Memoir Club for Readers and Writers Resumes on 25 March 2014

A Special Evening of  
"Memoir Favourites" 
to kick off our program for 2014

Tuesday, 25 March 2014, 6.00 - 8.30 PM
The Randwick Literary Institute,
60 Clovelly Road, Randwick 2031

Join us for an evening featuring some Memoir Favourites of our members. Jessica, Barbara, Patti and Beth will speak about and read work by writers who have profoundly influenced and inspired them.

Barbara Brooks on Doris Lessing

Jessica Kirkness on Helen Garner

Patti Miller on Annie Dillard

Beth Yahp on Maxine Hong Kingston

"What really knocks me out is a book that, when you're done reading it, you wish the author that wrote it was a terrific friend of yours and you could call him up on the phone whenever you felt like it," says Holden Caulfield in JD Salinger's Catcher in the Rye, adding, "That doesn't happen much, though."

Some authors and their works stay with us and keep the conversation going years after we've read them and felt that they were friends, and this is a chance for us to share in that oblique and perhaps longer-lasting friendship and conversation.

If you have a memoir favourite that you'd like to share with other members tonight, please do bring a passage along to read out—and email Beth to let her know:

Barbara Brooks has published fiction, essays & a biography, Eleanor Dark: a writer’s life, and co-edited Mud Map: Australian women’s experimental writing. She teaches writing at UTS & Masterclasses (see

Jessica Kirkness is a student at Macquarie University. She has just begun the second year of her Masters of Research degree. As part of her Masters thesis, Jessica is writing a memoir which discusses the experiences of her Deaf grandparents in a hearing world.

Patti Miller is the author of the critically acclaimed The Mind of a Thief. She has written Australia’s best-selling autobiographical writing texts, Writing Your Life, and The Memoir Book as well as a novel Child, and two memoirs, The Last One Who Remembers and Whatever The Gods Do. She is currently working on another narrative nonfiction, Ransacking Paris. She has taught life writing for nearly twenty five years.

Beth Yahp is originally from Malaysia. She is the author of a novel, various short fictions and non-fiction, and works for the stage and radio. Beth was awarded a Doctorate of Creative Arts from the University of Technology, Sydney, for her travel memoir documenting "detours through food, family and politics in Malaysia" in 2013. Beth currently teaches in the Masters of Creative Writing program at the University of Sydney.

When: last Tuesday of every month (29 April, 27 May, 24 June etc.)

Time: 6.00 - 9.00 PM (come for a cuppa and help us set up at 5.30 PM - please remember to bring your own cup!)

Where: The Randwick Literary Institute, 60 Clovelly Road, Randwick 2031. Tel: 02-9398 5203 (for directions and venue info). Street parking available. Clovelly bus 339 on the doorstep. For how to get there, see:

What: A communal space to meet other writers and readers and converse about all things to do with reading and writing memoir. We are interested in all kinds of life stories and in different ways of telling them. The genre of life writing and the possibilities of expanding and reworking the genre is exciting to us. Therefore we have a somewhat open and inclusive approach to what makes a memoir, and we hope you do too! Here is a space to connect with others and share ideas, questions and just hang out. Each meeting will start off with a talk, conversation or discussion about a particular topic or book, sometimes with a guest speaker or facilitator, then we move to an informal gathering and catch up.

Donation: $10 at the door for hall hire, refreshments and speakers.

Food: $15 for a plate of delicious vegetarian finger food (different each meeting). Ring or text to book a plate: 0450 907 422.

Future Speakers: Martin Edmund (April), Saskia Beudel (May), Mandy Sayer (August).


Look forward to seeing you there! Please do pass information on to anyone who might be interested in this community gathering.

mem·oir /ˈmemˌwär/
Noun. A historical account or biography written from personal knowledge. An autobiography or a written account of one's memory of certain events or people.

"Whole parts of me are made by experiences that haven't been described before."—Doris Lessing

"I think some people wished I'd kept myself out of the book. But I kind of insist on it because I want the reader to share my engagement with the material, if you like, not pretend that I'm doing it completely intellectually."—Helen Garner

"The line of words feels for cracks in the firmament."—Annie Dillard

"'You must not tell anyone,' my mother said, 'what I am about to tell you. In China your father had a sister who killed herself. She jumped into the family well. We say that your father has all brothers because it is as if she had never been born."—Maxine Hong Kingston