Sylvia Lawson, Isabel Sequeira, Laura Soares Abrantes, Katherine Thomson (facilitator)
Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya resisted Putin’s regime, and many of us at Sydney Writers’ Festival will never forget her visit here in 2006, just months before she was killed. In Demanding the Impossible Sylvia Lawson recounts the courage of Politkovskaya and asks what has become of resistance. Laura Soares Abrantes and Isabel ‘Beba’ Sequeira might have answers from their participation in the fight for East Timorese independence. Lawson, Abrantes and Sequeira talk to Katherine Thomson.
Sylvia Lawson (Australian)
Sylvia Lawson is one of Australia’s most acute and eloquent cultural and political essayists. Her work includes the prizewinning collection How Simone de Beauvoir Died in Australia, The Archibald Paradox: A strange case of authorship and the novel The Outside Story, centred on the Sydney Opera House. She is currently film critic for the online and print journal Inside Story.
Isabel Sequeira (International)
Isabel ‘Beba’ Sequeira’s family were involved in the Timorese clandestine movement, leading to her being interrogated by the Indonesian military while a chair was ground into her foot. She tells her story in Step by Step: Women of East Timor. After the referendum in 1999, Beba helped establish a women’s organisation - APSC-TL - that supports women veterans, provides scholarships to young women, and collects and publishes women’s stories, the latest being Secrecy: The key to independence.
Laura Soares Abrantes was active in the Timorese resistance, gathering information about Indonesian human rights violations and sending it out of the country, both as a student in Java and with women’s organisation Fokupers in Dili. She has contributed to all the published books on Timorese women from 1999 to the present, either as a storyteller, story collector or editor. Laura’s latest publications include Secrecy: The key to independence and Step by Step: Women of East Timor.