“Still, Life…” Discovering solace in the beauty of every day

This year’s Kerferd Oration will be delivered by writer, director, performer – and dedicated walker – Ailsa Piper.

Ailsa has navigated solitary trails in Australia, Spain and France, sometimes walking alone for weeks at a time. When she’s not on the roads, Ailsa is writing – plays, books, newspaper articles, poetry, and letters. Lots of letters. Ailsa uses every medium she can to celebrate creativity, walking, landscapes, connection and friendship.

“We have the capacity as communities and as individuals to create sanctuaries where beauty can light the darkness of our despair,” says Ailsa. “I’d like to explore some of those possibilities in Beechworth.”

“I’m a naturally sunny person but I’ve also experienced loss quite frequently through my life. I thought I was experienced at it – a veteran, if you will! But in the aftermath of the sudden death of my husband, I was like a pumice stone – nothing could permeate me. I became dry and tough, but my hard edges felt like the only protection I had. Eventually, though, I had to allow beauty to enter my days again. I had to let life in.”

“For those who are traumatised, or hit hard by life, opening to beauty in its many, many forms, can be lifesaving. I would like very much to share the ways in which I think we can allow it to heal us – and to heal communities.

Ailsa Piper was a co-winner of the Patrick White Playwright’s Award for her script Small Mercies in 2001 and co-adapted Bell Shakespeare’s acclaimed version of The Duchess of Malfi in 2012.

She published her first book, Sinning Across Spain in 2012. Her most recent book, coauthored with Tony Doherty, is THE ATTACHMENT: Letters From A Most Unlikely Friendship. Ailsa has judged the NSW and Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards seven times. She is an accomplished moderator of conversations and panels, and writes journalism and opinion pieces for newspapers and magazines. She also writes and performs Wordwalks – monologues celebrating poetry, walking and landscape.

The 2019 Kerferd Oration will be held on Sunday 28 July, 11.00am at The George Kerferd Hotel, Mayday Hills, Beechworth. A free community lunch will be followed by a facilitated discussion for those who wish to continue the conversation.

Priority entry tickets for this free community event are available through Eventbrite





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