Grief and trauma are among the most challenging themes for a writer to accurately convey. Join acclaimed non-fiction writers Meera Atkinson and Mark Baker as they share their own experiences of writing about these difficult and complex subjects in conversation with Maria Tumarkin. Meera’s Traumata explores the power of literature to give voice to and overcome family trauma. Mark’s Thirty Days, a poignant memoir of losing his wife to cancer, examines how we construct our own versions of the past.

Mark Baker (Australian)

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Mark Raphael Baker is the author of two memoirs, Thirty Days: A Journey To the End of Love, on grief, marriage, and the death of his wife, Kerryn, and The Fiftieth Gate: A Journey Through Memory, a best-selling and seminal book on his parents’ experience during the Holocaust which won a NSW Premier’s Literary Award. He is an Adjunct Associate Professor in the Australian Centre for Jewish Civilisation at Monash University, Melbourne.

Meera Atkinson (Australian)

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Meera Atkinson is a Sydney-based writer. Her creative non-fiction, poetry, and short fiction have appeared in many publications, including Best Australian Poems 2010, Best Australian Stories 2007, Salon, Meanjin, and Griffith Review. She was the recipient of the Varuna Dr Dark Flagship Fellowship for 2017, awarded for a non-fiction application of outstanding quality in social, historical or political writing. She won a Griffith Review Contributors’ Circle competition 2016 award, the Griffith Review Emerging Writers’ Prize in 2011, and was shortlisted for The Alfred Deakin Prize for an Essay Advancing Public Debate in the Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards for 2007. Meera has a PhD from the Writing and Society Research Centre at Western Sydney University and also publishes academically. Her monograph, The Poetics of Intergenerational Trauma in 2017, and she coedited Traumatic Affect, an international volume of essays. Meera is half of the musical duo Theories of Everything, and she teaches writing, most recently at the University of Sydney.

Maria Tumarkin (Australian)

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Maria Tumarkin writes books (three to date and a fourth on the way), reviews, essays and pieces for performance and radio; she teaches and translates, and collaborates with visual artists, psychologists and public historians. Maria's work has been published, performed, carved into dockside tiles, and set to music. She holds a PhD in Cultural History and teaches creative writing at the University of Melbourne.