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6 All-About-Women presenters share the stories of their lives

30 May 2018

AAW18 Waves 1

The Sydney Opera House podcast ‘It’s A Long Story’ (IALS) provides listeners with the stories behind the ideas of its guests. As part of its Talks and Ideas program, the IALS podcast is produced at the Sydney Opera House and “uncovers the formative moments and early careers of the thinkers and creators” who take its stages.

This year’s All About Women (AAW) Festival (March 4), supported by Westpac through its two-year partnership with the Sydney Opera House, featured a number of high profile local and international thinkers, creators and commentators. Six of the festival guests recorded interviews with Head of Talks and Ideas Edwina Throsby for IALS. They are now being released for listeners. The first cab off the rank (released 21 May) is author and social commentator Fran Lebowitz. Others to be released - fortnightly on Tuesdays - include: author Kate Bolick; singer-songwriter CN Lester; feminist activist Rebecca Walker; writer Mandy Len Catron; author Barbara Kingsolver.

What you’ll get is these people’s backstories: where they hail from and why they think and do things the way they do.

Fran Lebowitz is an unrepentant New Yorker, who loathes dogs on planes and Donald Trump, and blames Abraham Lincoln for the mess America is in today. If you’ve seen her live or read her opinion pieces or memoirs (Metropolitan Life; Social Studies, for example), the over-arching impression is of a walking acerbic quote. Tickets to her appearance at the festival were the second to sell out - behind the ‘design your own gin’ workshop with gin brand Archie Rose. The IALS podcast, like everything Fran does, will feature her opinion… on anything.

Kate Bolick’s ‘All the Single Ladies’, written for the Atlantic in 2011, weaves together memoir with economic analysis of singledom in the 21st century. The smash success of the piece kick started her career writing on ‘making a life of one’s own’. So how did she get there? IALS fills in the background.

CN Lester is English and the co-founded the Queer Youth Network. Identifying as non-binary their memoir Trans Like Me: A Journey for All of Us has been hugely popular. IALS looks at their life encouraging people not to make assumptions.

Rebecca Walker lives a feminist life in an ever-changing world. IALS traces with her what this means and how her intersecting identities as the daughter of author Alice Walker and Jewish civil rights lawyer Melvyn Leventhal became the foundation of her career.

Mandy Len Catron questions whether we are all better off in relationships. The daughter of a cheerleader and a football coach, Mandy’s all American Dream background and childhood afforded a very particular view of life - a view that did not meet reality. Using scientific research she wrestles in her writing and life with the big question: just how do we fall in love?

Barbara Kingsolver’s notes on the margins of her chemistry texts – she was leaning towards a career in science and academia – turned into short stories, novels and poems, and the studious Kingsolver realised literature also has the power to change the world. Her background – Oprah Winfrey endorsed novels, literary prizes, her deep connection to the environment - make fascinating listening.