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Architecture Words

10:30 AM – 1:00 PM
Saturday 13 October 2018

Michelle de Kretser, The Life to Come, 2017; Vanessa Berry, Mirror Sydney, 2017; Luke Slattery, Mrs. M., 2004. Contributor: the authors.



SESSION 1: 10:30 AM–11:30 AM

Susan Wyndham (journalist, author, and former literary editor of The Sydney Morning Herald): moderator; with architects Peter Tonkin (Tonkin Zulaikha Greer), Kerstin Thompson (Kerstin Thompson Architects), Peter Lonergan (Cracknell & Lonergan Architects).

Leading architects discuss the books and writing that have formed them as people, and shaped their sensibility as thinkers and practitioners of design, from textbooks to literature and digital sources. Their conversation will form self-portraits in words and a reading guide for the audience.


MORNING TEA: 11:30 AM–12:00 PM
Tea and coffee are served with an assortment of pastries, fruit, canapés and other gourmet bites in the SCCI garden courtyard.


SESSION 2: 12:00 PM–1:00 PM


Dr Gene Sherman (SCCI): moderator; with authors Luke Slattery (Mrs M), Michelle de Kretser (2018 Miles Franklin Literary Award for The Life to Come; winner of 2013 Miles Franklin for Questions of Travel), Vanessa Berry (Mirror Sydney).

Acclaimed authors give an insight into how they create a sense of place in fiction and non-fiction, evoking the built environment of the city as context or as character in their work. They share visions of Sydney – real and imagined, grand and modest, unfulfilled and lost – to make us look more closely at our city.


The production of this session was supported through the Woollahra Council Community and Cultural Grants Program.


Booking Information

  • Bookings are essential
  • Tickets are free
  • However, if you book and don't attend your credit card will be charged $40. (Tickets are transferrable if you can't make it).

This ticket covers both Session 1 and Session 2. This event is booked through SCCI.

To book, please call Daisy on (02) 8376 0850 between 10 AM – 6 PM, Monday to Friday, or email

Architecture Words
Saturday 13 October 2018
10:30 AM – 1:00 PM
SCCI 20 Goodhope Street Paddington


Susan Wyndham

Susan Wyndham is a journalist, writer and former literary editor of The Sydney Morning Herald. She is the author of Life in His Hands: the true story of a neurosurgeon and a pianist, editor of My Mother, My Father: on losing a parent, and a contributor to several books. Her current work includes reviewing books for The Australian, the New York Times and other publications, moderating literary events and judging book awards.

Dr Peter Tonkin

Dr Peter Tonkin is a director of Tonkin Zulaikha Greer Architects. The firm has an international design, heritage and urban design reputation and has won over 120 design awards. TZG has a wide range of experience from simple to complex buildings, heritage refurbishment and site planning, with a focus on civic and environmental responsibility. Major works include the Australian War Memorial in London, the National Arboretum, Canberra, the Walsh Bay Arts Precinct in Sydney and major cultural buildings and urban projects across Australia. Peter is an Adjunct Professor at the University of Canberra, and an emeritus Trustee of the Historic Houses Trust of NSW.

Kerstin Thompson

Kerstin Thompson is principal of Kerstin Thompson Architects (KTA), Professor of Design in Architecture at Victoria University, Wellington and Adjunct Professor of Architecture at RMIT & Monash Universities. Kerstin maintains close links to schools of architecture in Australia and overseas and promotes quality design within the profession and wider community through her role as member of the OVGA’s Design Review Panel and Melbourne Housing Expo Group.

Founded in 1994, KTA’s focus is on the role of architecture as a civic endeavour, with an emphasis on the user’s experience and enjoyment of place. Current significant projects include The Stables, Faculty of Fine Arts & Music VCA, The University of Melbourne; Arthur and Yvonne Boyd Riversdale Creative Learning Centre, Accommodation and Gallery for Bundanon Trust; 100 Queen Street, Melbourne tower redevelopment for GPT Group.

Peter Lonergan

Peter Lonergan is Director and architect of the cross disciplinary research-led practice Cracknell & Lonergan Architects, established in 1984 with fellow Director, Julie Cracknell. Over a combined career spanning thirty years, they have worked across a variety of disciplines, ranging from residential and commercial development, to consultancy roles in heritage conservation, town planning and environmental law. Running parallel to this, Peter and Julie have also been concerned with preserving the socio-cultural heritage of some of Sydney’s preeminent Modernist architects. Their forthcoming publication, Bruce Rickard: A Life in Architecture, co-edited with Mr. Samuel Rickard, explores not only the extensive architectural legacy of Bruce Rickard, but also the intimacy of his practice and the varied lives of his clients, colleagues and contemporaries.

Luke Slattery

Luke Slattery is an author, journalist and culture critic based in Sydney. His journalism and writing have been published in metropolitan media throughout Australia and internationally in The International Herald Tribune, The Los Angeles Times, The London 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, published by Fourth Estate, was Slattery's fifth book and his first novel. He is the author of Dating Aphrodite: Modern Adventures in the Ancient World, Reclaiming Epicurus: Could an Ancient Philosophy of Happiness Save the World?, Crisis in the Clever Country: Why Our Universities are Failing (with Geoffrey Masien), and The First Dismissal - a non-fictional account of the dramatic Australian colonial history that lies at the heart of Mrs. M. He is working on a film adaption of Mrs M and a novel about the Italian Renaissance humanist Pico Della Mirandola, while teaching at the University of Technology Sydney.

Michelle de Kretser

Michelle de Kretser was born in Sri Lanka and lives in Sydney. Her five novels have been published across the world and have won several awards, including twice winner of the Miles Franklin Literary Award for The Life To Come in 2018, and Questions of Travel in 2013.

Vanessa Berry

Vanessa Berry is a writer and artist who works with history, memory and archives. She is the author of Mirror Sydney: An Atlas of Reflections (Giramondo 2017), a collection of essays and hand-drawn maps that investigate the city’s marginal places and undercurrents. The book is in-part based on the popular blog Mirror Sydney, which she has been writing since 2012. She is also the author of the memoirs Ninety 9 (Giramondo 2013) and Strawberry Hills Forever (Local Consumption Publications 2007). Her visual arts work has been exhibited at galleries such as the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia, National Gallery of Australia, and the Museum of Sydney. Her most recent essay, "Time Machines" will be published by the Museum of Applied Arts and Science's in their new book Time and Memory.


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