Men of Letters

I’ve been thinking a lot recently about privacy and the fine lines that criss-cross over the whole idea. Recapping Women of Letters events has become somewhat of a habit, and there was totally that one time that Marieke Hardy read my recap and thanked me for it which made my life. But I read this article this morning and have had second thoughts. What goes down at these events is public in the sense that several hundred people attend and listen to the letters. But it is also intrinsically private. Some letters tell stories of unimaginable grief, some of childhood secrets, some detail personal relationships. All of them are touching and many of them are funny, even amongst sadness. But it’s made me think twice about some of the detail I put into my recaps. Although the letters are often reproduced in anthologies or online, it is always with the writer’s permission. Their stories are not mine to retell, however summarised they might be. So I’ll keep going to these events, and I’ll keep laughing and crying and appreciating, but I don’t think I’ll keep recapping.

I will say this: yesterday I went to my first ever Men of Letters event, and it was fabulous. 11 men – Casey Bennetto, Glenn Robbins, Gideon Haigh, Peter Russell-Clarke, Tony Wheeler, Richard Flanagan, Brian Mannix, Sam Cooney, Frankie J Holden, Bert Labonte and Derryn Hinch – were writing to ‘The Woman Who Changed My Life’. Some wrote to wives, daughters, mothers, friends, some to women who were no longer with us, some who were sitting in the Regal Ballroom listening. One letter was written to the ocean, one to Marieke Hardy herself, and one to Brittanica – definitely three of the most enthralling letters I have ever heard.

I’ve already bought my ticket to next month’s event, and I’m so excited to hear that this show is going even more global than before (Britain and Ireland yeow!). Also, the third anthology is being launched next month! Hopefully, there’ll be plenty more to come.

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