Hearing Maud is a work of creative non-fiction that details the author’s experiences of deafness after losing most of her hearing at age four. It charts how, as she grew up, she was estranged from people and turned to reading and writing for solace, eventually establishing a career as a writer.
Central to her narrative is the story of Maud Praed, the deaf daughter of 19th century Queensland expatriate novelist Rosa Praed. Although Maud was deaf from infancy, she was educated at a school which taught her to speak rather than sign, a mode difficult for someone with little hearing. The breakup of Maud’s family destabilised her mental health and at age twenty-eight she was admitted to an asylum, where she stayed until she died almost forty years later.
In Hearing Maud Jessica White fulfils, with grace, elegance and a fierce regard for truth-telling, writing’s primary task: to tell it as it is; but as no one has ever told it before. This is a book of wonder. It gives voice to silence.
Through uncovering Maud’s story, Jessica began to understand her own experiences of deafness and how they contributed to her emotional landscape, relationships and career.
Meet Jessica White in conversation with Inga Simpson
This event will be AUSLAN-interpreted
Tickets: $15 (includes a complimentary glass of wine or juice)
Jessica White is the author of A Curious Intimacy, for which she was named a Sydney Morning Herald Best Young Novelist, and Entitlement. Jessica’s work has appeared widely in literary journals, including Meanjin, Southerly, Review of Australian Fiction, Overland, Island and Griffith Review, as well as numerous academic publications. She has also been listed for prizes such as the Commonwealth Short Story Prize, the Calibre Prize, the Elizabeth Jolley Prize and the Peter Blazey Award for life writing. She currently researches and lectures at The University of Queensland.
Inga Simpson began her career as a professional writer for government before gaining a PhD in creative writing. In 2011, she took part in the Queensland Writers Centre Manuscript Development Program and, as a result, Hachette Australia published her first novel Mr Wigg in 2013. Nest, Inga's second novel, was longlisted for the Miles Franklin Literary Award and the Stella Prize, and shortlisted for the ALS Gold Medal. Inga's third novel, the acclaimed Where the Trees Were, was published in 2016. Inga won the final Eric Rolls Prize for her nature writing and recently completed a second PhD, exploring the history of Australian nature writers. Inga's memoir about her love of Australian nature and life with trees, Understory, was published in 2017.