FOBL hosts regular speaker events with a wide range of renowned authors, journalists, actors, academics and local identities.
The funds raised are utilised both to enhance the library’s services and to enrich its book collection.

We gather in the Balmain Town Hall Small Meeting room. A light supper is served after each event and audience questions.
FOBL greatly appreciates the time generously given by our speakers to entertain and enlighten us as well as supporting our fund raising efforts.


Friday 7th December 2018 - Luke Slattery:  Messing with fact and fiction in early Sydney - an imaginary novel

Luke Slattery is an author, journalist and literary critic based in Balmain, Sydney. His journalism and writing have been published in metropolitan media throughout Australia and internationally in the International Herald Tribune, the Los Angeles Times, London's The Spectator, The New Yorker and the US Chronicle of Higher Education. He has served as Higher Education Editor at The Australian, The Age and The Australian Financial Review, and has been the recipient of the Higher Education Journalist of the Year Award, the European Union Journalist Award and the Australian Council's Keesing Writing Fellowship in Paris. He was shortlisted for the 1995 Graham Perkin Journalist of the Year Award. Mrs. M is Luke's fifth book and his first novel.

Slattery’s intention in writing Mrs M is to draw attention to the idealism of the Macquarie years and the reaction these ideals of criminal redemption and sub-proletarian betterment provoked from a quite vicious Tory Government. To achieve this, he has chosen not to write non-fiction, but created instead an imagined portrait of Elizabeth Macquarie, wife of Governor Lachlan Macquarie, and her affectionate partnership with the architect who designs many of the government buildings in early Sydney and Parramatta.  Mrs M is written entirely from Elizabeth’s partisan point-of-view, showing the Macquaries as a benign partnership based on shared ideals of rehabilitation and social justice as a deterrent to crime.

Luke Slattery has lofty ambitions for this novel – his first, though he’s written other books.   In the Author’s Note at the back of the book, he writes that he wants Australians to be proud of their convict beginnings rather than embarrassed, and he wants to subvert the notion of colonial Australia as a ‘gulag’, a perception, he says, that arose from the popularity of Robert Hughes The Fatal Shore (1986). 

This is sure to be a fascinating evening with one of Australia's leading writers.

Date: 7th December 2018
Time: 7.00pm for 7.30pm
Location: Balmain Town Hall, Small Meeting Room
Cost: (incl. a light supper)
Non-Members: $20.00   Buy tickets online
Members: $15.00              Buy tickets online