Dark Power

Moderator: Ebony Bennett • Tara Calaby and Marija Peričić

12.30 PM – 1.30 PM
Kambri Cultural Centre (ANU)

Melbourne 1890: a grieving woman is locked away in Kew Lunatic Asylum, a prisoner to social orthodoxies. Stockholm 1930: A doctor becomes so enthralled with his young patient that not even death can save her from his obsessive attentions.

Two lush new historical novels by Australian women mine the dark power of the gothic. Twin tales of institutional control and women’s bodies, and the limits of desire.

Presented in conjunction with The Australia Institute


TARA CALABY lives on Boon Wurrung country in Gippsland, Victoria with her wife and far too many books. She is currently a PhD candidate at La Trobe University, researching the social worlds of women in Victorian lunatic asylums. Tara's debut novel, House of Longing, was published by Text Publishing earlier this year, and her short fiction has appeared in numerous anthologies and journals. In her free time, she enjoys playing video games, attempting to learn Danish, and patting other people's dogs.


MARIJA PERIČIĆ is a writer based in Naarm/Melbourne. Her first novel The Lost Pages, won The Australian/Vogel's Literary Award 2017, and she was named a Sydney Morning Herald Best Young Australian novelist for this work. Her second novel, Exquisite Corpse was released in June 2023. Marija’s short stories, essays and poetry have appeared in Meanjin, Southerly, Going Down Swinging, and The Big Issue Fiction Edition. Marija is currently completing a Creative Writing PhD at The University of Melbourne.


EBONY BENNETT is deputy director of independent think thank the Australia Institute and host of its popular webinar series and Follow the Money. Beginning her career as a journalist in the Canberra press gallery, Ebony has worked in federal politics in a variety of roles for almost 20 years. Ebony is a regular commentator and contributor across broadcast and print media; she appears regularly as a commentator on ABC and Sky News and has a fortnightly column in The Canberra Times.