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Prodigal Daughter [sound recording] : 2011 Ray Mathew Lecture presented by Susan Johnson at the National Library of Australia on 23 August 2011
Bib ID 5616021
Format AudioAudio, OnlineOnline [sound recording]
Johnson, Susan, 1956-, Speaker
Online Access
Access Conditions Access open for research, personal copies and public use. 
Description 2011 
1 sound file (ca. 56 min.) 

Ray Mathew lecture.

Technical Details

Mode of access: Online. 


Introduction by Anne-Marie Schwirtlich, Director-General of the NLA, providing background about Ray Mathew and the Ray Mathew and Eva Kollsman Trust. She welcomes Susan Johnson, giving details about her life, writings and achievements. Susan Johnson speaks of the cultural value of libraries and the experience of expatriation, especially for artists; she examines the particularly conflicted relationship Australian artists have with their country; the Tyranny of Distance as it affects Australian artists; the lecture title; social attitudes; Australian culture; she cites a long list of Australian women writers who have chosen expatriation; the re-development of Christina Stead's family home at Watson's Bay in Sydney; arts-versus-Sport, cultural values today, and the role of memory in a national literature; the UK's commitment to preserving cultural sites, with reference to the Brontes' family home in Haworth; how we need to properly value the places linked to the writers who forged our literary heritage; Margaret Olley; valuing artistic works and writers who may not have received appropriate recognition in their lifetime; the parable of the Prodigal Son; the concept of Australianness; her own desire to live and work overseas, its roots and family reactions to it; the literary richness of London and Paris, valued by a large proportion of their people; artistic practice and its responsibilities; her reasons for returning to Australia; the "Stella" prize for women writers. Question and answers. Thankyous and concluding remarks.


Supported by the Ray Mathew and Eva Kollsman Trust. The lecture, in honour of Ray Mathew, the Australian expatriate poet and playwright, is presented annually by an Australian writer living abroad.

"After 10 years living in London, author and journalist Susan Johnson has recently returned to Australia. In this year's Ray Mathew Lecture, she explores the long line of women writers who have left and sometimes returned, the artist's ambivalent relationship to Australia, and Australia's ambivalent relationship to its artists."

Recorded on 23 August 2011 at the National Library of Australia, Canberra, A.C.T.

Index/Finding Aid Note Timed summary (3 p.) 
Subjects Mathew, Ray, 1929-2002.  |  Expatriate authors -- Australia.
Other authors/contributors National Library of Australia

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Details Collect From
Copy: Recording
Special Collections Reading Room
ORAL TRC 6349 (summary)
Copy: Summary
Special Collections Reading Room

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