The people of letters

Today, we went to Men of Letters – the yearly instalment of Women of Letters, that is the one male-only edition of each year.

A singer, travelling the world in his youth, writes a letter to an idol, repeating the mantra of Dear <idol> at the start of each paragraph – creating a series of short letters – revealing inspiration, growth, discovery, travel, and his blooming sexuality.

But I won’t say who he is.

A well known actor pens a letter to his future daughter. Building a story of the life he wants to give her, he weeps, opining the harsh treatment of so many wonderful women in his life – and how his daugher, and her generation and beyond, will break those barriers. Real tears, brave words.

An honest man telling a heartfelt story of future hope.

A national icon and champion of the less fortunate in society, tells the story of his own realisation of the difficulty of addiction and mental health issues experienced in his own family. That no matter what good work you do, you can never know what it’s really like until it strikes at home.

His story stays with us….

An indigenous man, singer, and poet, writes a letter to his mother, speaking of his birth, his generation, and showing three key photos from his childhood. His raw emotion on remembering the separation of he and two of his siblings from his family, under a government policy to ‘protect children’, strikes the audience hard. His song, written in jail, of a friend who wanted to write his wife a letter. seals the pact.

You’d need to have come along to hear that private story, too.

Because Women of Letters, Men of Letters, and People of Letters, all ask the audience not to record, photograph or say too much of these stories outside of this hall of hope and memory. These are personal stories, wishes, and dreams, of memory, better times, times to come… shared just with a few.

There were more of course – 10 letters altogether, each bringing laughter, hope and tears.

What a powerful medium.

Thanks to Marieke Hardy for creating this incredible forum.

You really should go sometime…

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