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Dr Kelly Gardiner

Narrative nonfiction: Sisterhood: Feminists in the family – A work of history and memoir tracing two generations of Victorian women

Kelly's work of narrative nonfiction reflected on the nature of feminist and pacifist movements in the 20th century, and asked what meanings they hold for society today.

In 1911, feminist politician Vida Goldstein visited London and spoke to a crowd of 10,000 people at the Albert Hall. In the audience was Kelly’s great-grandmother, Edith Gardiner, wife of a shopkeeper in East Ham. Edith was so inspired that she immediately migrated to Melbourne with her young family, joining Vida's campaigns and becoming Vice President of the Women's Peace Army (WPA).

The woman voter reported that Edith spoke at a 1916 anti-conscription demonstration of 80,000 people, but only the words of her middle-class friends, such as Goldstein, Adela Pankhurst and Cecilia John, were recorded. Edith, the assistant grocer's wife from Carlton, was always in the background.

Seventy years later, Kelly was part of a new generation of young feminists, fighting for the same – but different – freedoms. Sisterhood traced Edith's presence, in a creative experiment in biography, social history and memoir.

Dr Kelly Gardiner teaches creative writing part-time at La Trobe University. She has a BA in Writing and Literature (Deakin University), MA in Australian Literature (Deakin) and PhD in English (La Trobe University).

Kelly worked for many years as a journalist and editor in newspapers, magazines and online. Her articles have been published in the New York Times, Marie Claire and New idea. She is also the co-host of Unladylike, a podcast about women and writing.