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RHSV History Bookclub

March 10 @ 5:30 pm - 7:30 pm


This will be the inaugural meeting of our History Bookclub. And the first book chosen is Chloe Hooper’s The Arsonist: A mind on fire. 

The bookclub will focus on Victorian history but there may be little deviations. It will be moderated at first but it is planned for it to be self-sufficient. We will organise occasional author visits and guest speakers. The group size will be capped. There will be monthly meetings – currently planned for the 2nd Tuesday of each month. A bookclub is, of course, focused on the book but the word ‘club’ in the title is there for a reason – we want these gatherings to be fun.

If you have queries, please contact Rosemary / 9326 9288 / rosemary.cameron@historyvictoria.org.au

The Arsonist is available through the History Victoria Bookshop at the discounted price of $19

The Arsonist was awarded a Judge’s Special Prize in the 2019 Victorian Community History Awards. The Judges’ citation is:

“This powerful and suspenseful story of the 2009 bushfires in the Latrobe Valley is told from the perspectives of the police, the victims, the alleged perpetrator and his parents. The drama revolves around the accused, Brendan Sokaluk from Churchill, a social misfit with a cognitive disability. The author raises the issue as to what extent was he knowingly responsible for the inferno as she reflects on the nature of his disability and pyromania theories.

The backdrop is a disadvantaged community that experienced widespread unemployment after privatisation of the State’s energy grid and loss of community facilities at Yallourn and elsewhere owing to obeisance to coal mining.

Hooper uses a novelist’s skills to evoke the savage fury of the fire, a monster unleashed on a hapless little community, but her writing is anchored in fact; her sources are primarily the 2009 Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission and court records. Her creative narrative represents a compelling way of telling the history of a catastrophe.”


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March 10
5:30 pm - 7:30 pm
Event Category:


Royal Historical Society of Victoria
03 9326 9288


RHSV, Gordon Moffatt Room
239 A'Beckett St
Melbourne, VIC 3000 Australia
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9326 9288