Catharine Lumby Meet the Author

28 Sep 2023

Catharine Lumby will be in conversation with Andrew Leigh on her new book Frank Moorhouse . A life, the definitive biography of one of Australia’s best-known men of letters.

Frank Moorhouse was one of Australia’s best-known and most-loved authors, both in Australia and around the world. His career spanned the genres of the novel, the short story, the essay, the memoir, the erotic novella, the screenplay and the historical monograph. He even invented a literary form: the discontinuous narrative.

Frank Moorhouse was also one of the country’s foremost public intellectuals; his contribution to Australian cultural, social and political life was prolific, erudite and astoundingly broad. Throughout his career he moved between the roles of activist, author, advocate and scholar. His interests encompassed intimate relationships, social mores, history, politics, international law, foreign policy, intellectual property and censorship. On all these subjects, he wrote and spoke with distinctive elegance, wit and perception.

Many writers fashion a career out of their writing. Some fashion brilliant careers. Very few, however, commit to their art in a manner that inflects every aspect of their own daily life. Frank Moorhouse was one of the rare writers who actively chose to live a life that was as grounded in conscious aesthetic and ethical choices as his writing.

A decade before his death in 2022, Frank Moorhouse asked renowned journalist, writer and academic Catharine Lumby to be his biographer. This was an inspired choice, influenced by their decades of friendship and by Lumby’s close engagement with, and appreciation for, Moorhouse’s writing. She ‘got’ him and his work, he said, in a way few others did.

Given Frank Moorhouse’s influence on literature and public life, it is astonishing that this is the first biography of a man recognised as one of our most important writers and thinkers. In this fascinating and crucial work, Catharine Lumby weaves the intellectual and aesthetic aspects of Moorhouse’s life into a sparkling dialogue, highlighting the depth of his impact on Australian culture.

‘Wonderfully lively and, like the subject himself, charming.’ Tom Keneally

Catharine Lumby is a Professor of Media at the University of Sydney where she was founding Chair of the Media and Communications Department. Prior to entering academia, she worked for two decades as a print and TV journalist for The Sydney Morning Herald, the ABC and The Bulletin magazine. She has written and co-authored ten books including Bad Girls and Gotcha, and numerous book chapters and journal articles..

Dr Andrew Leigh MP, the Federal Member for Fenner in the ACT is Assistant Minister for Competition, Charities and Treasury and Assistant Minister for Employment. Prior to being elected in 2010, Andrew was a professor of economics at the ANU. He holds a Harvard PhD and is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Social Sciences. Andrew is the author or co-author of ten prior books, on topics including innovation, inequality, community, globalisation and existential risk.

The vote of thanks will be given by Dr Jen Webb, Distinguished Professor of Creative Practice, and Dean, Graduate Research Office. University of Canberra

This event is in association with Harry Hartog Bookshop. Books will be available for purchase on the evening in the Cultural Centre foyer. Pre-event book signings will be available from 5.30pm and again after the event.


Registration is required for this event.

Masks are no longer required indoors at ANU except in teaching and clinical settings.

Accessible parking spaces are available around campus should you require them.

To help keep everyone safe, please ensure that you are familiar with, and follow, the advice from ACT Health regarding COVID-19.

If you do not feel well, please refrain from attending this event.

By registering for this event, you are accepting our privacy policy.

A podcast will be made available after the event.

Symposium by University House Wine bar (Shop 13, 152 University Avenue, Acton, which is just next to the Kambri cultural centre) will now be open for dining after meet the author events. Food and wine details at . No bookings necessary.

TEQSA Provider ID: PRV12002 (Australian University) | CRICOS Provider Code: 00120C

Similar Events