Women of Letters: nothing on earth as intimate

Co-founders Michaela McGuire and Marieke Hardy have stumbled upon something truly amazing — there is nothing on earth as intimate as a personal letter. Women of Letters’ follows a simple structure, whereby guest speakers are invited on stage to read a letter they have written.

Whilst each letter was written in response to the same topic (‘A Letter to Something I Left Behind’), they were all individual and unique beyond words.

The simplicity of the event makes it a success. Each month draws on a different topic, showcasing different guests from completely different walks of life. With no video recordings, each presentation is a once in a life time occurrence, never to be repeated.

The letters are deeply personal stories which touch on the lives, fears, faults and accomplishments of real people. In a modern society where honesty is often hard to come by, McGuire and Hardy enlist letters as a platform to tell raw stories, reminding us of the power of letter writing and of drawing from our own experiences.

The therapeutic and cathartic power of letter writing is very evident here. Hours after the conference and I am still on the brink of tears as I replay Alice Skye’s letter in my head!

Addressed to her missing journal, Skye spoke about fears of inadequacy, of moving away from home and about her missing identity — her emotions and family story all strike a chord. I mean, who knows how many emotional twenty-something-year-olds hold baggage over absent parents? Other guest speakers who must be mentioned include Micheline Lee, Kylie Auldist, Soreti Kadir and Sonya Renee Taylor.

This is the seventh year of ‘Women of Letters’ (I can’t believe this was my first attendance!) and the last event of 2016. McGuire and Hardy have toured the world and even published seven books of these letters. Profits from the day are going to the animal rescue shelter, Edgar’s Mission.

‘Women of Letters’ will be returning in 2017 with a new co-curator Angie Hart. The audience numbers are capped so that it remains intimate, so tickets sell-out very quickly. So be on the ball for next year.

– Amber
Amber B. is a freelance stage manager who is excited to keep you up to date with Melbourne’s best theatre.

Women of Letters’ 2016 series ended on 27 November in Melbourne, Thornbury Theatre. Keep tabs on their Facebook page for upcoming events.
The venue is accessible.

Disclosure: The Plus Ones were invited guests of Jadan Carroll.
Image credit: Penney & Logan.