Ben Quilty with Richard Flanagan On Home

Artist Ben Quilty and writer Richard Flanagan join The School of Life to talk about the meaning of home and the power of vulnerable voices. 

Many of us are fortunate to think of home as a place of warmth, love and safety. But for too many, the memory of home is imbued with sadness, disconnection and despair. In this exclusive end-of-year conversation, Ben Quilty and Richard Flanagan will reflect on their time in Syrian refugee camps and what the drawings of a generation of refugee children can teach us about the unseen impact of violent conflict – and the incredible resilience needed to overcome such horrors.

In a Serbian refugee transit station, they met the six year old Heba. Her stark and moving drawings of home inspired Ben Quilty to collect and present these children’s pictures to the world.

‘Big people have big voices,’ says Ben, ‘and most of them ignore the small voices of the smallest among us. And Heba was one of the most vulnerable little humans I have met, but her voice is big, her story is as graphic as it is tragic, if only we give her a second, to listen and consider the message that she gave me to show you.’

Join Ben Quilty and Richard Flanagan as we take time to reflect on the experiences of children who have survived the Syrian war, how that shapes our own understanding of home and what role art can play in igniting compassion, motivation and – most importantly – action.


6.15pm            Doors Open
7.00pm            Welcome and Introduction
7.10pm            On Home
8.10pm            Audience Questions
8.30pm            Event Concludes 
8.40pm            Book Sales and Signing

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Click here to book for the Melbourne event on Wednesday 28 November.

Read more about Home: Drawings by Syrian Children by Ben Quilty with a foreword by Richard Flanagan.

This event is proudly presented in collaboration with Penguin Random House.

Photograph of Richard Flanagan by Joel Saget.

‘Art, freedom and creativity will change society faster than politics.’

- Victor Pinchuk

About Ben Quilty

Ben Quilty was born in Sydney, Australia.  The recipient of numerous art prizes including the Doug Moran National Portrait Prize, Archibald Prize and the Prudential Eye Award for Contemporary Art in Singapore, his work is represented in major national and international collections.

About Richard Flanagan

Richard Flanagan was born in Tasmania in 1961. His novels Death of a River Guide, The Sound of One Hand Clapping, Gould’s Book of Fish, The Unknown Terrorist, Wanting, The Narrow Road to the Deep North and First Person have received numerous honours and are published in 42 countries. He won the Man Booker Prize for The Narrow Road to the Deep North in 2014.

About Sisonke Msimang

Sisonke Msimang was born in exile to South African parents – a freedom fighter and an accountant – and raised in Zambia, Kenya and Canada before studying in the US as an undergraduate. Her family returned to South Africa after apartheid was abolished in the early 1990s. Sisonke has held fellowships at Yale University, the Aspen Institute and the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, and is a regular contributor to The Guardian, Daily Maverick and The New York Times. She now lives in Perth where she is head of oral storytelling at the Centre for Stories. Sisonke will be the Conversation host for this event.

About Special Events

Leading writers, economists, historians, philosophers, psychologists, artists and other thinkers offer provocation, inspiration and consolation in the form of advice for living better. Speakers for this strand have been invited by The School of Life to present their own material. Session formats will vary depending on the subject.

Buy tickets for
Ben Quilty with Richard Flanagan On Home

Major Event
When and where:
  • Tue 27 Nov 2018 7 – 8.30pm
    Wesley Conference Centre, 220 Pitt St, Sydney NSW

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General Admission: $55.00
Concession: $45.00
(+ $2 booking fee and 1.5% CC fee) 

Valid concession cards include a Health Care Card, Seniors Card, Pensioner Concession Card and current student cards.

Please note that we are unable to offer refunds or transfers with less than 7 days cancellation notice before the original event date.

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