Log in

Log in

Winning Histories - HCNSW at the Sydney Writers' Festival

  • 21 May 2024
  • 14:00 - 15:00
  • Gallery Room, State Library of New South Wales


Registration is closed

Join the History Council of NSW with three leading historians discussing the dual art of crafting award-winning histories and captivating narratives for diverse audiences. This forum brings together esteemed historians, writers, and scholars to delve into the intricate balance between creating scholarly rigor and engaging storytelling. Our authors will explore the dynamics of writing histories that respond to questions and ideas with relevance to national or local interest, as well as seeking to tell stories that resonate with larger audiences.

We'll delve into the nuanced artistry required to bridge the gap between academic excellence and accessibility. Award-winning histories often exemplify meticulous research, innovative methodologies, and groundbreaking perspectives. They challenge conventions, redefine narratives, and contribute significantly to our understanding of the past. However, an equally important facet is crafting histories that captivate broader audiences without sacrificing accuracy or depth. These narratives weave compelling stories, utilizing evocative language and relatable contexts to ignite curiosity and empathy. Our esteemed panelists will share insights into their approaches, discussing the challenges of balancing scholarly integrity with storytelling prowess. They'll explore strategies for making complex historical contexts accessible without oversimplification and maintaining authenticity while appealing to diverse reader interests.

Join us for an enlightening exchange that explores the artistry behind histories that claim accolades within academia while also capturing the imagination and hearts of a broader public audience.

Dr. Margaret Cook

As an historian, Margaret Cook is fascinated by water and its interaction with humans, animals and the environment over time. She writes about climate-related disasters with a particular focus on rivers and floods and is the author of A River with a City Problem: A History of Brisbane Floods. Margaret is a Research Fellow at the Australian Rivers Institute, Griffith University and La Trobe University.

Dr. Shannyn Palmer

Shannyn Palmer is a community-engaged practitioner, cultural consultant and award-winning writer. She works with cultural institutions and communities to facilitate ethical community engaged practice and enable meaningful intercultural collaborations. She is particularly interested in community engaged practice as a methodology for disrupting settler colonial systems and knowledge. She has a PhD in History from the Australian National University and her first book, Unmaking Angas Downs: Myth and History on a Central Australian Pastoral Station, won the 2023 Prime Minister’s Literary Award for Australian History and the 2023 Northern Territory Chief Minister’s History Book Award.

Nicole Cama

Nicole Cama is a historian with the City of Sydney Council with experience in museums, heritage and public history. Her work has been published across a range of platforms including radio, websites, print publications, social media, mobile applications and exhibition displays. In 2023, she was awarded the History Council of NSW’s Macquarie University-PHA Applied History Award for her work, ‘Liverpool Street, Darlinghurst’, a digital history project mapping the people and places of the street from the 1840s to the 1940s using the City of Sydney Archives, produced for the Australian Centre for Public History, Univerity of Technology Sydney.

Associate Professor Jan Láníček

Jan Láníček is Associate Professor in Modern European and Jewish History at UNSW Sydney. He received a PhD from the University of Southampton in Britain in 2011 and has published widely on the history of the Holocaust and Central Europe. He is currently completing a study of post-Holocaust judicial retribution in Czechoslovakia and also researches Jewish migration to Australia before World War II. Jan is also a member of the General Council of the History Council of New South Wales.



City of Sydney

Macquarie University (Faculty of Arts)

National Archives of Australia

NSW State Archives & Records

Placemaking NSW

Reserve Bank of Australia

State Library of New South Wales

Sydney Living Museums

University of New England

University of Newcastle (School of Humanities & Social Sciences)

University of New South Wales

University of Technology Sydney (Australian Centre for Public History)


History Council of NSW

PO Box R1737

Royal Exchange NSW 1225

Phone: 0418 811 522


The HCNSW is a charity registered with the Australian Charities & Not-for-Profits Commission. Click on the logo above to find out more about our business.

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software