Counting our blessings: How to convey the lived experience to the lucky country
Alice Pung (One Hundred Days, Unpolished Gem) was born in Footscray a month after her parents Kuan and Keen arrived in Australia. Alice’s father, Kuan – a survivor of Pol Pot’s Khmer Rouge regime – named her after Lewis Carroll’s character because after surviving the Killing Fields, he thought Australia was a Wonderland.
Yuot A Alaak (Father of the Lost Boys) walked by his father’s side during the second Sudanese civil war with other displaced boys from neighbouring villages. His father Mecak led 20,000 Lost Boys over four years to the safety of the Kakuma Refugee Camp in Kenya, teaching them to write as a means to liberate themselves with something other than AK-47s.
Shokoofeh Azar (The Enlightenment of the Greengage Tree) was born in Iran seven years before the Islamic revolution. Shokoofeh’s interest in writing was sparked by her father, an Iranian intellectual, author, poet and artist.
The word resilience was often mentioned during the COVID-19 lockdown of 2020 but no one in Australia could compare their endurance to the extraordinary and compelling hardship and devastation of revolution and civil war.
Three Australian authors speak with Bruno Lettieri about the effects the lived experience of their forebears have had on their own writing and how words can transform and deepen our connection.
Saturday 19 June at 12.00pm
The Supper Room, Williamstown Town Hall,
104 Ferguson Street, Williamstown
Adults – $25
Concession – $22