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Rozanna’s great-great-great grandfather, John Nicholls, emigrated from Cornwall to Beechworth in 1854. He was a stonemason, and his house still stands on Elgin Rd. For the last few years, she has been working on a series of poems, based largely on newspaper sources, titled “Beechworth, 1879”. In these poems Rozanna reworks her family history and offers a fictionalised representation of life in Beechworth during a year marked by the construction of the Rocky Mountain tunnel, the ongoing search for the elusive Kelly Gang, and numerous visits by popular entertainers and artists, including the fabulous phrenologist, Madame Sibly. Rozanna will be reading poems set in the winter months of 1879, conjuring a world of both opportunities and limitations, populated by a cast of ‘kid-gloved and eye-glassed gentlemen’, shopkeepers, miners, abandoned children, asylum inmates, widows and one feisty pregnant teen.

Rozanna Lilley is a poet and essayist. Her poems are widely published in literary journals and anthologised in various collections, including Best Australian Poems (2015) and Best of Australian Poems (2023). Her hybrid prose-poetry memoir Do Oysters Get Bored? A Curious Life (UWA Publishing, 2018) was shortlisted for the National Biography Award in 2019. Her first stand-alone poetry collection, The Lady in the Bottle (London: Eyewear) was published in 2023.

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Supper Room, Beechworth Memorial Hall


Organiser Information

Janet Tweedie
Winterwords Autonomous Collective Inc

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