Zoë Morrison’s debut novel Music and Freedom follows a gifted pianist who moves from rural Australia to Oxford. She falls for an economics professor, only to find out that he’s damaged, and she is trapped. This novel explores the dark terrain of violence and the transformative powers of music and love. Zoë, herself a pianist and a Rhodes scholar, discusses her novel, which came to life in Oxford when she was supposed to be writing academic papers. In conversation with Maxine McKew.

Zoë Morrison (Australian)

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Zoë Morrison is the author of the novel Music and Freedom, which won the Readings Prize for New Australian Fiction, was iBooks Australian Fiction Book of the Year for 2016, and is currently short-listed for the ALS Gold Medal. She has a DPhil in Human Geography from Oxford University, where she studied as a Rhodes scholar, before working there as an academic. Her research and advocacy work has included the fields of gendered violence and social exclusion. Zoë also has an LMusA in piano performance. 

Maxine McKew (Australian)

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Maxine McKew is an honorary fellow at the Melbourne Graduate School of Education. She has a 30 year background as a journalist and was anchor of both 7.30 and Lateline. She is a Logie and Walkely Award-winner. In 2007 she wrote herself into Australian political history by defeating John Howard in the seat of Bennelong. Her most recent book is Class Act, an account of the major challenges facing education in Australia.