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This session has unfortunately been cancelled. The Sydney Writers Festival has been cancelled due to the uncertainties surrounding COVID-19.


At this challenging time, we are doing everything we can to protect the health and safety of our members & the public in lieu of COVID-19 (Coronavirus). Our staff, guest speakers & communities’ health are paramount to us. We are advised & informed by our partners & the NSW Government Public Health Recommendations.

Due to the developing crisis, we extend our deepest apologises to all members & individuals for any inconvienance caused & wish for all your good healths! We would like to thank you for your understanding & support. All individuals who have RSVP’d to our event will be personally contacted. The History Council of NSW looks to investigating ways to bring this session to you. Watch this space!


This session is presented by the History Council of New South Wales as part of the Sydney Writers’ Festival.


The winners of the 2019 NSW Premier’s History Awards – Lyndall Ryan, Alison Lloyd, Dr Meredith Lake and Lorena Allam will gather to reveal how and why they wrote their transformational histories.

Each of their studies makes the familiar strange and challenges previous understandings of Australian history. The writers will speak with host Nancy Cushing about their inspirations, their writing practice and the impact they hope their work will have, followed by an opportunity for questions from the audience.

When |  Wednesday, 29 April 2020 at 2:30 pm – 3:30 pm..

Where |  Metcalfe Auditorium, State Library of New South Wales, Macquarie Street, Sydney, NSW 2000


On the Panel |

Nancy Cushing |

Nancy Cushing is an environmental historian based at the University of Newcastle where she is Associate Professor and Assistant Dean (Research Training) in the Faculty of Education and Arts. She has had a long interest in the history of Newcastle and is co-author of Smoky City: A History of Air Pollution in Newcastle(with Howard Bridgman, Hunter Press, 2015) and co-editor of Radical Newcastle (NewSouth, 2015). Her latest book is Animals Count, co-edited with Jodi Frawley (Routledge, 2018).

Professor Lyndall Ryan | 

Lyndall Ryan is a pioneering and highly influential Australian historian, whose work has recast and reconceptualised the historical experiences of Aboriginal people in colonial and post-colonial contexts and on Australian history from a feminist perspective. She is recognised internationally as a leading scholar in massacre studies. Her major works include her ground-breaking book, Aboriginal Tasmanians (1981), Tasmanian Aborigines: A History since 1803 (2012) and her collaborative research on the Killing Times (2019), an interactive massacre map of Australia.


Lorena Allam | 

Lorena is the Indigenous affairs editor for Guardian Australia and is 2018 Walkley award winner for innovation in journalism for the Deaths Inside project, which tracked Indigenous deaths in custody over the past decade, and 2019 Walkley award winner for The Killing Times, a massacre map of Australia’s frontier. Lorena has been a journalist and broadcaster for 30 years, working for ABC News, Triple j, Radio National, TV and online.


Alison Lloyd | 

Alison Lloyd is the author of ten books for children, both fiction and non-fiction, all about history. She loves finding the drama and the humour in stories of the past. Besides the prize-winning Upside-Down History of Downunder, Alison also wrote the Meet Letty books, set in Sydney in 1841, for the popular Our Australian Girl series, and Wicked Warriors and Evil Emperors, the story of China’s first Emperor.

Dr Meredith Lake | 

Dr Meredith Lake is a writer and broadcaster interested in how Australians explore the big questions of faith and meaning. Her most recent book, The Bible In Australia: a cultural history (NewSouth publishing), won the Australian History prize at the 2019 Prime Minister’s Literary Awards and the 2019 NSW Premier’s History Awards. She currently hosts Soul Search on ABC Radio National, a weekly show about the lived experience of religion and spirituality.