Thomas Keneally
Thomas Keneally
4 September 2009

A free public lecture by Australian literary legend Thomas Keneally headlines a page-turning program of UQ events at this year’s Brisbane Writers Festival.

The University is again a major sponsor of the festival, and is presenting a range of sessions exploring issues ranging from the global financial meltdown to saving the world’s rainforests and reviving dying languages.

The author of Schindler's Ark and The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith will speak at the IMB auditorium at St Lucia on September 14 on the topic “Under the Gun: Writing in Australia” at 10.30am.

UQ’s Fryer Library contains a significant body of Mr Keneally’s work, including several of his early manuscripts.

“Thomas is a speaker in high demand and this is an exciting opportunity for staff, students and the wider community to hear a writer of great talent speak about his passion for history, for people and for writing,” University Librarian and Director of Learning Services Keith Webster said.

On September 11 at 6.45pm, Canadian author Andrew Westoll joins UQ ecologists Professor Hugh Possingham and Dr James Watson at the State Library for “Tropical forests on the brink: can we save them?”.

Mr Westoll’s travel memoir The Riverbones has recently been published by UQP, and documents the majestic, shrinking forests of Suriname, a tiny country in South America. Dr Watson has worked on carbon capture strategies in Suriname, while Professor Possingham is a co-inventor of Marxan, the world’s most widely used conservation planning software.

Those interested in the mechanics of the global credit crunch can head along to hear John Talbott, author of The 86 Biggest Lies on Wall Street in conversation with Dr Jason Hall on September 10, or look to the future when “Globally Bereft: After the Crisis” is presented on September 11.

A former investment banker at Goldman Sachs, Mr Talbott has successfully predicted major economic and cultural shifts in previous books including The Coming Crash in the Housing Market, Sell Now and Obamanomics.

Meanwhile, fans of the Mona Lisa can get a glimpse of the woman behind the smile at the UQ Art Museum on September 12 when Da Vinci expert Donald Sassoon presents a public lecture.

“Mona Lisa: The best-known girl in the whole wide world” is a free event but bookings are essential by emailing

Also taking place on September 12 is “The Urban Revolution” at GoMA chaired by UQ Vice-Chancellor Professor Paul Greenfield.

Other events include “Reporting Islam: Representation and Reality”, hosted by the School of Journalism and Communication (SJC) at the Sir Llew Edwards Building on September 10 at 5.30pm.

The panel session will see former Middle East correspondent Joris Luyendijk in conversation with SJC experts.

Linguists from around the world will converge on the Breezeway Stage at BWF for the opening ceremony of the first Australian Workshop on Afro-Asiatic Linguistics (AWAAL) on September 11. The organiser of the conference, Associate Professor Ghil‘ad Zuckermann, will also chair “Let My People Know! The Use, Misuse and Abuse of the Hebrew Bible” on September 10.

The School of English, Media Studies and Art History will again present a series of writing workshops for students and staff, as well as presenting public talks with cult authors M J Hyland (Carry Me Down) and Marina Lewycka (A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian).

UQP authors taking part in the festival include UQ graduate Amy Barker, academic and award-winning poet Bronwyn Lea and the winner of the 2008 David Unaipon Award, Marie Munkara.

Media: Cameron Pegg at UQ Communications (07 3365 2049,