Biography Workshop

School/Centre

National Centre of Biography

Contacts

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 11 am to about 12.30 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 ncb@anu.edu.au


Workshops 2019

28 February 2019 - Hans Renders: Old Lives, New Questions

26 March 2019 - Rhys Williams: From Carlyle to Plekhanov: The Role of the Individual in History

11 April 2019 - Peter FitzSimons: On Biography (public lecture at 6 pm, China in the World Lecture Theatre, ANU)

30 May 2019 - Gwenda Tavan: Arthur Calwell, Ageing and the Defence of White Australia: A Psycho-Social Analysis

27 June 2019 - Ashley Barnwell: Family Secrets, National Silences: Intergenerational Memory in Settler Colonial Australia

11 July 2019 - Rachel Robertson, Mary Besemeres, and Sinead McEneaney: The Politics and Implications of Recent Life Writing

29 August 2019 - Gabrielle Carey: Katherine Mansfield’s Cousin

26 September 2019 - Patrick Mullins: Reflecting on Tiberius with a Telephone

31 October 2019 - Lawrence Goldman: Peel, One British Prime Minister and Four Personalities


 

Upcoming events

Gabrielle Carey: ‘Only Happiness Here’

11am 29 Aug 2019

‘Only Happiness Here’: The Life and Work of Elizabeth von Arnim Born in Australia in 1866 as Mary Beauchamp, Elizabeth von Arnim was the author of 21 best-...

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Past events

The Politics and Implications of Recent Life Writing

11 Jul 2019

Life-writing is a broad genre encompassing all manner of ‘ego documents’ including autobiography, diaries, journals, letters, memoirs, and oral testimony. It...

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Ashley Barnwell: Keeping the nation’s secrets

27 Jun 2019

Keeping the nation’s secrets: ‘colonial storytelling’ within and about Australian families Recent studies of the ‘genealogy craze’ focus on how family...

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Gwenda Tavan: ‘Curse the Press!’

30 May 2019

‘Curse the Press!’: Arthur Calwell’s battles with the Australian media and the perils of resentment politics Arthur Augustus Calwell was Australia’s Minister...

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Peter FitzSimons: On Biography

11 Apr 2019

With an ear for story and talent for a good yarn FitzSimons’ particular brand brings stories to life so that we are not merely sitting around the campfire...

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Rhys Williams – From Carlyle to Plekhanov: The Role of the Individual in History

28 Mar 2019

The role of the individual in history has always been a concern for historians and biographers. Do individuals shape events or do events shape individuals?...

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Hans Renders: Old Lives, New Questions

28 Feb 2019

This workshop is about traditions and current questions in the world of biography. An assessment of the art of Life Writing in England and the United States,...

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Sophie Jensen: Azaria Chamberlain. 68 days. 591 objects

25 Oct 2018

Azaria Chamberlain lived only 68 days. However short her life, it was her death on 17 August 1980 that left an indelible mark on Australian culture and society...

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Peter Jones: Australia's Argonauts

27 Sep 2018

Peter will discuss the research and writing of Australia’s Argonauts, a narrative history of the 28 members of the first class to enter the Royal Australian...

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Christine Milne: Reflecting on ‘An Activist Life’

30 Aug 2018

Over the years I have written hundreds of press releases and speeches, yet writing a political autobiography was a challenging task. How does a private person...

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Christine Milne: Reflecting on ‘An Activist Life’

30 Aug 2018

Over the years I have written hundreds of press releases and speeches, yet writing a political autobiography was a challenging task. How does a private person...

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Updated:  24 July 2019/Responsible Officer:  Head of School/Page Contact:  CASS Marketing & Communications