In this live recording of the popular #peaknerd podcast Archive Fever, historians Clare Wright (You Daughters of Freedom: The Australians Who Won the Vote and Inspired the World) and Yves Rees (All About Yves: Notes from a transition) are joined by literary biographer Bernadette Brennan (Leaping into Waterfalls: The enigmatic Gillian Mears) and filmmaker Tosca Looby (Strong Female Lead) to discuss their mutual addiction to archival research. How do you reconstruct a renowned female author’s life from her public and privately written output? How do you use news and documentary footage alone to tell the story of Australia’s first female prime minister? What gets left on the cutting room floor because it is either too hot or too hard to handle? Can a smoking archival gun kill a biographer?

Bernadette Brennan (Australian)

Bernadette Brennan

Bernadette Brennan is a critic and researcher of contemporary Australian writing and one of five judges for the Miles Franklin Award. Her literary criticism has been published widely in Australia and abroad. Bernadette's publications include Brian Castro: The Seductive Play of Language and A Writing Life: Helen Garner and her Work. Her most recent book is Leaping Into Waterfalls: The Enigmatic Gillian Mears.

Tosca Looby (Australian)

Tosca Looby

Tosca Looby has been directing high end factual programming for the past two decades. She has created complicated thesis dependent works on issues including international child abduction, contemporary parenting and domestic violence. In 2021 she created Strong Female Lead - a feature documentary made from 100% archive material, which charts the sexism that came at Julia Gillard during her prime ministership. In the same year Tosca released the critically acclaimed three part series, See What You Made Me Do, fronted by Journalist Jess Hill. She is now completing an ABC arts series and embarking on a new series with Jess Hill, this time tackling the issue of consent. Her awards and nominations include: Rose D’Or, AACTA, Logie, AIDC, Walkley and Asian Academy Creative Awards for best documentary series.

Clare Wright (Australian)

Clare Wright

Clare Wright is an historian, author, broadcaster, podcaster and public commentator. She is the author of four works of history, including the Stella Award-winning The Forgotten Rebels of Eureka. Her latest book is You Daughers of Freedom, the second instalment of her Democracy Trilogy. Clare co-hosts the Archive Fever podcast and has written and presented history documentaries for ABC Television and Radio National. She is currently a Professor of History at La Trobe University.

Yves Rees (Australian)

Yves Rees

Dr Yves Rees is a historian and writer living on unceded Wurundjeri land. They are a Lecturer at La Trobe University and co-host of the Archive Fever podcast. Yves is the author of All About Yves: Notes from a Transition and co-editor of Nothing to Hide: Voices of Trans and Gender Diverse Australia. They were awarded the 2020 ABR Calibre Essay Prize for their essay 'Reading the Mess Backwards'.