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Jill Stark - Happy Never After

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Happy Never After is a brilliant intersection between searing personal experience and the wisdom of the elders: nothing brings us closer to despair than the relentless pursuit of our own happiness.
— Hugh Mackay

“I could have had a Pulitzer Prize under one arm and Ryan Gosling under the other, and it still wouldn’t have been enough. My happy ever after had been built on quicksand.”

Jill Stark was living the dream. She had a coveted job as a senior journalist, she was dating a sports star, and her first book had just become a bestseller. After years of chasing the fairytale ending, she’d finally found it. And then it all fell apart. 

Getting her happy-ever-after plunged Jill into the darkest period of her life, forcing her to ask if she’d been sold a lie. What if all the things that she’d been told would make her happy were red herrings? Could it be that the relentless pursuit of happiness was making her miserable? 

From the ashes of Jill’s epic breakdown comes a raw, funny, and uplifting exploration of our age of anxiety. Charting her own life-long battles with mental health, Jill asks why, in a western world with more opportunity, choice, and wealth than ever before, so many of us are depressed, anxious, and medicated. When we’ve never had more ways to connect, why do we feel so profoundly disconnected? 

Join Jill Stark in conversation with Hugh Mackay as we ask what would happen if we stopped chasing, stayed still, and found calm and meaning in places we least expected.

Tickets: $12 (includes a complimentary glass of house wine or soft drink)

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Jill Stark is an award-winning journalist and author with a career spanning two decades in both the UK and Australian media. She spent ten years on staff at The Age covering health and social affairs as a senior writer and columnist, and now works as a freelance journalist, media consultant and speech writer. She also teaches journalism at Macleay College in Melbourne, where she lives. Her first book, High Sobriety, was longlisted for the Walkley Book Award and shortlisted in the Kibble Literary Awards. 

Hugh Mackay is a social researcher and bestselling author, whose research career has spanned six decades, including 25 years as research director of The Mackay Report, publishing quarterly reports on all aspects of Australian life. Among many honorary appointments, he has been deputy chair of the Australia Council for the Arts, chairman of trustees of Sydney Grammar School, the inaugural chair of the ACT government's Community Inclusion Board, and is currently a patron of the Asylum Seekers Centre. He is a Fellow of the Australian Psychological Society and has been awarded honorary doctorates by five Australian universities. In 2015, he was appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia.