Biography Workshop


National Centre of Biography


Biography Workshop

The Biography Workshop was established by the National Centre of Biography in response to requests by practitioners, students and readers of biography for a forum to discuss a range of methodological issues relating to biography. The group considers recent and long-standing questions about biography.

As Ray Monk and others have pointed out, there is an expanding body of academic literature on biography which asks some of the same questions that Dr Samuel Johnson addressed in his two famous essays on biography Rambler (1750) and Idler (1759):

Is biography fiction?

Who deserves to have a biography written of them?
What details are appropriate to be included in a biography? 

Is it possible to know with certainty the inner life of another?
What are the moral or ethical responsibilities of biographers towards subjects, social sensitivities and the truth?

The Biography Workshop meets at noon to 1.30 pm at the ANU and offers the opportunity for informal and relaxed discussion with some of Australia's best biographers in a stimulating environment.

If you are interested in attending any of the sessions, please contact us at

Past events

Karen Fox: Fame, Reputation, Significance, and Biography

26 Oct 2017

Reputations – and historians’ assessments of the significance of a life – may change over time, and can be the subject of intense conflict, as demonstrated by...

» read more

Katherine Aigner: Writing Uncomfortable Stories

28 Sep 2017

Katherine Aigner, a PhD student in the National Centre for Indigenous Studies at the ANU, will discuss 'How do you write uncomfortable stories?' Says...

» read more

Peter Rees: Charles Bean and Len Waters

31 Aug 2017

Peter Rees published his biography of Charles Bean in 2015 (Bearing Witness, Allen & Unwin, 2015), a study which, for the first time, captured the essence...

» read more

Peter Monteath: Red Professor: The Cold War Life of Frederick Rose

27 Jul 2017

Peter Monteath discusses his book Red Professor (Wakefield Press, 2015) a portrait of the life of the anthropologist, communist, and spy Fred Rose, which he co...

» read more

Nick Brodie: Telling Big History

29 Jun 2017

Nick Brodie discusses making methodological history accessible to a broad public audience – especially by using people to revise master narratives, rather than...

» read more

Garry Sturgess talks to Barry Jones

25 May 2017

Garry Sturgess and Barry Jones discuss Garry’s film about Barry and the use of film and oral history in political biography.

» read more

John Murphy on Evatt: A Life

27 Apr 2017

Professor John Murphy will discuss his recent book Evatt: A Life (NewSouth Publishing, 2016), a biography of the significant Australian parliamentarian and...

» read more

Gideon Haigh discusses Victor Trumper

11 Apr 2017

Gideon Haigh will discuss his most recent book Stroke of Genius: Victor Trumper and the Shot that Changed Cricket (Hamish Hamilton 2016). In life, Trumper was...

» read more

Libby Connors: Warrior: A Legendary Leader's Dramatic Life

30 Mar 2017

Libby Connors will discuss her recent book Warrior: A Legendary Leader’s Dramatic Life and Violent Death on the Colonial Frontier.In the 1840s, colonial...

» read more

Dr Sue Taffe: ‘A White Hot Flame,’ a life of Mary Montgomerie Bennett

23 Feb 2017

Dr Sue Taffe will discuss her recently completed book 'A White Hot Flame' which examines the early private life of Mary Bennett, and provides insights into...

» read more


Updated:  10 October 2017/Responsible Officer:  Head of School/Page Contact:  CASS Marketing & Communications