Julia Baird Meet the Author

25 Mar 2024

Julia Baird will be in conversation with Virginia Haussegger on her new book Bright Shining. How grace changes everything. From the bestselling author of Phosphorescence comes a beautiful and timely exploration of that most mysterious but necessary of human qualities: grace.

Grace is both mysterious and hard to define. It can be found when we create ways to find meaning and dignity in connection with each other, building on our shared humanity, being kinder, bigger, better with each other. If, in its crudest interpretation, karma is getting what you deserve, then grace is the opposite: forgiving the unforgivable, favouring the undeserving, loving the unlovable.

But we live in an era when grace is an increasingly rare currency. The silos in which we consume information dot the media landscape like skyscrapers, and our growing distrust of the media, politicians and public figures has choked our ability to cut each other slack, to allow each other to stumble, to forgive one another. So what does grace look like in our world, and how do we recognise it, nurture it in ourselves and express it, even in the darkest of times

‘Luminous … A work to both devour and savour, Baird has, once again, written a book the world needs now.’ Guardian

‘Enlightening, surprising, absorbing .. I learned something every chapter and put the book down full of awe at the power of human beings to be good to each other when no-one would expect it. It’s the book I needed to read right now.’ Annabel Crabb

Julia Baird is a globally renowned author and award-winning journalist. A much-beloved broadcaster, Julia presents for ABC TV and writes columns for The New York Times. Her work has earned her four Walkley Our Watch awards, a Walkley Award for team election reporting, and two further Walkley nominations. Baird received both her B.A. and Ph.D. in history from Sydney University.

Virginia Haussegger AM is an award winning journalist, broadcaster & former ABC News anchor in Canberra. Virginia is an Adjunct Professor at the University of Canberra and Deputy Chair of the media think-tank PIJI, the Public Interest Journalism Initiative. In 2019, Virginia was named ACT Australian of The Year, in recognition of her community leadership and women’s rights advocacy.

The vote of thanks will be given by Hugh Mackay, social psychologist and researcher, the bestselling author of 23 books.

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 available again after the event.


  • Registration is required for this event.
  • 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.
  • Accessible parking spaces are available around campus should you require them.
  • By registering for this event, you are accepting our privacy policy.
  • 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 https://unihouse.anu.edu.au/eat/symposium/. No bookings necessary.

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