Australians still cling to the tendrils of the British Empire: flocking to see touring Royals and the Commonwealth Games, while the campaign for an Australian republic struggles to get political traction. The globe is no longer coloured pink–independence for most Commonwealth countries was hard won. Yet some still hope for a special place for Australia in a Brexit triggered Empire 2.0. Will the Commonwealth of Nations take a major role in future or languish as a legacy of another age? Join Selina Tusitala Marsh, Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o and Jenny Hocking as they discuss the ties that bind the former colonies. They talk with Griffith Review Commonwealth Now co-editor Julianne Schultz to interrogate the lingering power of Empire and the Commonwealth in Africa, the Pacific and here.
Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o (International)
Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o is a novelist, essayist, playwright, journalist, editor, academic and social activist and currently a Distinguished Professor of English and Comparative Literature at the University of California. He was born in Kenya in 1938, and educated at schools in Kenya and colleges in Uganda and Britain. He has taught in many universities including Yale and New York University. A UCI Medalist, Ngũgĩ is recipient of twelve Honorary Doctorates from universities in Africa, Europe, America, and New Zealand. He is also an Honorary Foreign Member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. His books include the novels Wizard of the Crow, Petals of Blood, and A Grain of Wheat as well as the collections of essays Decolonizing the Mind and Something Torn and New. He is also the author of memoirs including In the House of the Interpreter and Wrestling with the Devil. His fable, The Upright Revolution, an English translation of the Gĩkũyũ, Ituĩka rĩa Mũrũngarũ, has been translated into 68 languages, making it one of the most translated stories in history.
Selina Tusitala Marsh (Australian)
Selina Tusitala Marsh was the 2016 Commonwealth poet and is the current New Zealand Poet Laureate (2017–19). She has published three collections of poetry with Auckland University Press: the award-winning Fast Talking PI, Dark Sparring, and Tightrope. She teaches post-colonial literature and creative writing at the University of Auckland.
Jenny Hocking (Australian)
Jenny Hocking is a celebrated biographer, scholar and political commentator. She is the author of the acclaimed two-volume biography of Gough Whitlam, Gough Whitlam: A Moment in History and Gough Whitlam: His Time, winner of the Fellowship of Australian Writers’ Barbara Ramsden Award and shortlisted for several awards including the Prime Minister's Literary Awards and the National Biography Award. Jenny is the inaugural Distinguished Whitlam Fellow with the Whitlam Institute at Western Sydney University and Emeritus Professor at Monash University. Her latest book is The Dismissal Dossier: Everything you were Never Meant to Know about November 1975 and her essay ‘Relics of colonialism: The Whitlam dismissal and the Palace letters’ appeared in Griffith Review 59: Commonwealth Now.
Julianne Schultz (Australian)
Julianne Schultz AM FAHA is the founding editor of Griffith Review. Professor Schultz is a member of the Griffith Centre for Creative Arts Research and chairs the Australian Film, Television and Radio School. She sits on the editorial board of The Conversation and is a member of the Australia Council for the Arts’ Pool of Peers. She is an acclaimed author of several books, including Reviving the Fourth Estate and Steel City Blues, and the librettos to the operas Black River and Going Into Shadows. She became a Member of the Order of Australia for services to journalism and the community in 2009 and an honorary fellow of the Australian Academy of Humanities the following year. She is a thought leader on media and culture and an accomplished public speaker and facilitator. She has served on the board of directors of the ABC and Grattan Institute, and chaired and been a member of many advisory boards with a particular focus on education, journalism and creativity, including the Centre for Advancing Journalism, and the Queensland Design Council.