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Thursday, May 21 2015 11:30 AM - 12:30 PM Free, no bookings
Sydney Dance 1, Pier 4/5, Hickson Road, Walsh Bay
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Three writers grapple with the tension between the body, mortality, sex and denial – a medieval obsession that continues to provoke debate and discomfort today. Mortician Caitlin Doughty is on a mission to dismantle society’s taboos around death. James Boyce’s new book explores the history of original sin. Robyn Cadwallader’s debut novel, The Anchoress, tells the story of a 12th century holy woman who voluntarily locks herself in a tiny cell. Caitlin, James and Robyn speak with Ashley Hay about all things sin, sex and denial.

Robyn Cadwallader (Australian)

Robyn is an editor and writer who lives in the country outside Canberra. She has published poems, prize-winning short stories and reviews, a poetry collection I Painted Unafraid, and a non-fiction book based on her PhD thesis about virginity and female agency in the Middle Ages. Her first novel, The Anchoress, is published in 2015 by Fourth Estate (Australia), Faber & Faber (UK), Farrer, Straus & Giroux (US), and Gallimard (France).

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Caitlin Doughty (International)

Caitlin Doughty is a mortician and the host and creator of the popular Ask a Mortician web series. She founded the death acceptance collective The Order of the Good Death and co-founded Death Salon. Caitlin’s first book, Smoke Gets in Your Eyes: And Other Lessons from the Crematorium, is a New York Times bestseller. She frequently gives talks on the history of death culture, rituals and the funeral industry. She lives in Los Angeles and has recently opened the funeral home Undertaking LA.

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James Boyce (Australian)

James Boyce is the author of Born Bad: Original Sin and the Making of the Western World. He is the multi award-winning writer of the bestsellers 1835: The Founding of Melbourne and the Conquest of Australia, and Van Diemen’s Land: A History. He has a PhD from the University of Tasmania, where he is an honorary research associate of the School of Geography and Environmental Studies.

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Ashley Hay (Australian)

Ashley Hay’s most recent novel, The Railwayman’s Wife, won the 2014 Colin Roderick Award and the People’s Choice Award in the NSW Premier’s Prize. Her previous books include The Body in the Clouds, Museum (with visual artist Robyn Stacey), and Gum: The Story of Eucalypts and Their Champions. She writes for various publications including Griffith Review and Australian Geographic and was the editor of Best Australian Science Writing 2014.

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