What are the sensitivities of writing stories about the histories of others? Who has the right to tell stories of the past, particularly those full of sadness and pain? Molly Murn’s Heart of the Grass Tree writes of the violent first contact between the Ngarrindjeri people and European sealers. Rebecca Makkai’s The Great Believers draws on the first wave of the AIDS epidemic in America and the shocking swathe it cut through a generation of gay men.
Rebecca Makkai is the author of a short story collection and three novels, the most recent of which, The Great Believers, was short-listed for the 2018 US National Book Award. She is also an academic and Artistic Director of StoryStudio Chicago.
Molly Murn is a South Australian author and poet. Heart of the Grass Tree is her first novel.
Susan Wyndham is a journalist, writer and book reviewer, and was previously Literary Editor of The Sydney Morning Herald. Her most recent book is My Mother, My Father: On Losing a Parent.