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Shared Narratives

Join Rosemary Sayer, Melinda Tognini and Liz Byrski as they discuss the process of interviewing, transcribing, and adapting stories for the written form, while also carefully considering the way shared narratives can empower both storytellers and their story writers. 

Rosemary, Melinda and Liz have written stories on behalf of others. They come together to discuss the importance of writing authentically, with respect and accuracy to the storyteller’s narrative voice. 

Following on from their very successful 'Shared Narratives' panel at the Perth Writer's Festival, Centre for Stories is hosting the panel again due to popular demand.

Refresments and a light meal will be served on the evening.

Liz is a writer and broadcaster with more than 50 years of experience in the British and Australian media. Liz is an author of thirteen non-fiction books and nine novels. Liz has a PhD on the subject of feminist popular fiction, and is now the Director of the China Australia Writing Centre at Curtin University.  


Melinda is a writer and author with more than 20 years experience in high school teaching and running workshops. Melinda’s feature articles, travel articles and personal essays have appeared in magazines and anthologies around Australia and the United States. 

Rosemary is an author, teacher and experienced international communications professional. Rosemary worked in journalism before working in PR and communications for the corporate sector. She has held senior positions in Australia and Asia. Rosemary has taught classes at a number Western Australian universities and the Chinese University in Hong Kong.  She is currently working towards her PhD. 

Facilitated by:

Rachel is a West Australian author, editor and academic who spends her time teaching creative non-fiction, professional writing and publishing at Curtin University. Rachel has worked in community education, book publishing and as a freelance research, writer and editor.


Works in discussion

Reaching One Thousand by Rachel Roberston

Rachel's memoir was published in 2012 and shortlisted for the National Biography Award 2013. Rachel has written poems, short fiction and personal essays that have been published in a range of journals and anthologies.

Rachel’s research finds her exploring creative writing pedagogy, Australian literature, creative non-fiction, critical disability studies and ethics.


Many Hearts, One Voice: the story of the War Widow’s Guild in Western Australia by Melinda Tognini

Melinda Tognini is the author of Many Hearts, One Voice: the story of the War Widows’ Guild in Western Australia. The book is the result of eight years of research, writing and editing.  

Many Hearts, One Voice tells the tale of a group of courageous women who made a difference to the lives of Australia’s war widows from the past and present.

When WWII ended, the soldiers who fought and died were not forgotten – but what of their wives and families? For the War Widows’ Guild the fight for rights and recognition had just begun. Together they fought for recognition and for public expression of their loss, for subsidised aged-nursing care and affordable housing. Together they fought to have their pensions recognised as compensation for their husbands’ lives. Together they overcame poverty, social isolation and invisibility.


More to the Story: conversations with refugees by Rosemary Sayer

Rosemary Sayer’s memoir More to the Story: conversations with refugees puts a human face to the suffering depicted in the global refugee crisis.

Her unease with the negative, often politicised, debate dehumanising refugees and asylum seekers led her to go beyond media reports, political speeches and statistics convincing her there was more to the story.  As part of her research Rosemary spent time in the refugee camp on the Thai-Burma border.

The book combines history, commentary and personal memoir with deeply personal interviews and conversations. More to the Story takes readers on a two and a half year journey with Rosemary as she meets and gets to know refugees from Burma, Afghanistan and South Sudan. She asks the questions we would all like to ask. 


In Love and War: nursing heroes by Liz Byrski

Liz Byrski’s In Love and War combines memoir and research to take an intricate look into the effects of war. In the aftermath of the Battle of Britain, airmen filled a small English town where pioneering plastic surgeon, Archibald McIndow, established revolutionary surgery.

For a young Liz Byrski growing up in the East Grinstead, the burnt faces of these airmen filled her nightmares.

In her late sixties, Liz returned to make peace with her memories and to speak not only with the survivors – known as the Guinea Pig Club – but with the nurses who played a vital and unorthodox role in their treatment, sometimes at a significant personal cost.