On Sunday afternoon I attended my first Women of Letters event. For those of you who haven’t heard about WoL, it’s a beautiful, inspiring, uplifting and diverse celebration of female talent curated by Marieke Hardy and Michaela McGuire. Each month, five Melbournian writers (be they actors, novelists, comedians, songwriters, journalists etc.) come together for one afternoon to pay homage to the lost art of letter writing by writing a letter themselves – addressed to whoever they like – that is centred around a chosen theme for that month. Sunday’s theme was “burning bridges” and the panelists’ responses could not have been more diverse, nor more beautiful (this month’s writers were Alannah Hill, Anni Davey, Zoe Foster Blake, Catriona Rowntree & Rachel Power). For me, it wasn’t so much the content of the letters that were read that blew me away but, rather, the honesty of the women – in particular Alannah Hill who, for the first time in her life, spoke publicly about very private and very traumatic childhood experiences – namely being sexually abused at the hands of her older brother. Although I can’t speak for the atmosphere of other WoL events, on Sunday, the vibe in the room was unlike that of any other public event that I’ve ever attended. It was intimate. It was saturated with understanding. It was pregnant with compassion and openness and, well, love. Several times throughout the afternoon I got goosebumps. They could’ve been goosebumps of inspiration or, of yes! This is how we need to start speaking about things – boldly; fearlessly; honestly.
The next event coming up is a Men of Letters in October. If it’s anything like Sunday afternoon was, you really must go.
You can find WoL here or on Facebook.