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Festival Opening - Moments of Wonder


Awe, admiration, fascination, trepidation, amazement - a very special storytelling event


Be inspired, astonished and amused as five intriguing Australian women – Sarah Avery, Aunty Matilda House, Kate Legge, Alice Pung and Annika Smethurst – relate their moments of wonder. Whether personal or observed, profound or just plain hilarious, this special storytelling session for International Women’s Day will remind us that despite the challenges we face, moments of wonder abound.

Be sure to linger after the event for the Festival Muse opening night drinks!

Tickets: $20 (includes entry to 2019 Festival Muse opening drinks)


Sarah Avery is an experienced lawyer who is active in Canberra's LGBTIQA+++ community. Using she/her and they/them pronouns these days, Sarah loves the arts, roller derby, social justice, animals, and the rule of law. From Coffs Harbour originally, Sarah still cannot believe the things that she has been lucky enough to experience, and dreams of continuing to live a big, big life. Rebuilding a femme/non-binary gender expression, Sarah will almost certainly look transformed when speaking about ‘wonder’.

Matilda House is a proud Ngambri-Ngunnawal elder, with long-established connection to Canberra and its surrounding regions as one of the traditional custodians of the land. Matilda was instrumental in establishing the ANU Tjabal Indigenous Higher Education Centre in 1989; and established, and is now chair of, the Ngambri Local Aboriginal Land Council, and a member of many Canberra and Queanbeyan Indigenous committees and organisations. She performed the welcome to country at Prime Minister Kevin Rudd's Apology to the Stolen Generations. In addition to her many community service and support roles, Matilda is an accomplished artist, having contributed to the publication of several books and exhibited paintings, one of which hangs in the ACT Legislative Assembly.

Kate Legge writes for The Weekend Australian Magazine. She has covered politics and social affairs in Australia and America. She has published two novels: The Unexpected Elements of Love (long listed for the Miles Franklin Award) and The Marriage Club.

Alice Pung is an award-winning Melbourne writer, whose books include Unpolished Gem, Her Father's Daughter, Laurinda and Close to Home. She is the current artist in residence at Janet Clarke Hall, the University of Melbourne. She also writes for the Monthly magazine. 

Annika Smethurst is the National Political Editor for the Sunday News Corp papers. She began her print career in Bendigo, before a cadetship with the Herald and Weekly Times in Melbourne, and then becoming a state political reporter at the Herald Sun before joining the Canberra press gallery. In 2015 she won a Walkley for the Choppergate scandal, followed by the 2017 Walkley ‘Scoop of the Year’ for a series of articles revealing taxpayer-funded spending of former Health Minister Sussan Ley. Annika was the 2016 Young Press Gallery Journalist of the Year and the 2017 Press Gallery journalist of the year. She regularly appears on Sky News, The Drum and Insiders.

Earlier Event: March 3
War & Gender - Panel Discussion
Later Event: March 9
Alice Pung - Close to Home