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Final Draft - Monday 5 December - Letters, Convicts, and Australia'...
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Publish-date-icon December 6, 2011
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Tonight we’re darting through the history of writing in Australia, from the nation’s first published novel in the early 1800s to reviving the lost art of correspondence today.

That Australia’s first published novel was written by an English convict can’t come as too much of a surprise. Henry Savery began writing Quintus Servinton in 1830 while serving time for forgery in prison in Tasmania. His book traced his own well-educated, ambitious beginnings to a sentence for passing forged cheques. He narrowly escaped a deal by hanging but was transported to Australia on a life sentence.

Mariana Soares chats to author Ron Howard about his biography of the manic-depressive Henry, A Forger's Tale, which recently won the Walter Stone Award for Life Writing.

Neda Vanovac speaks with Marieke Hardy about Women of Letters. Keen to host events showcasing the talents of Australia’s female writers, Marieke Hardy and Michaela Maguire founded the monthly literary event. Noni Hazelhurst, Virginia Trioli, Judith Lucy and Helen Garner are just some of the women who stepped up to the challenge of writing letters on a theme and reading them out. The events have become a huge hit, with writers lining up to bare their souls, and Marieke and Michaela have been busy over the past two years hosting events around the country.

(Ron Howard Interview produced by Mariana Soares. 'A Forger's Tale: The Extraordinary Story of Henry Savery, Australia's First Novelist' published by Arcade Publications.)

(Marieke Hardy Interview produced by Neda Vanovac. Women of Letters published by Penguin Australia.)

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