Life of author Katharine Prichard to be honoured at 80th anniversary event for International Women’s Day

Hugo Throssell with his wife Katharine Susannah Prichard and their son Ric Throssell at 11 Old York Road, circa 1924.
Hugo Throssell with his wife Katharine Susannah Prichard and their son Ric Throssell at 11 Old York Road, circa 1924.

THE life of renowned author and political activist Katharine Prichard will be honoured with a tribute marking the 80th anniversary of International Women’s Day (IWD) in WA.

Presented by the Department of Communities, the event will honour the Greenmount resident who was a guest speaker at the inaugural IWD meeting in 1938.

Held at Perth Town Hall on March 8, the tribute will reflect the first IWD event where Dr Roberta Jull spoke with Ms Prichard, lawyer Mary ‘Molly’ Kingston and broadcaster and activist Irene Greenwood.

This year’s guest speakers include writer Michelle Johnston, breast cancer specialist professor Arlene Chan, legal professional Sue Gordon, and activist Emma Boogaerdt.

Each speaker will discuss the theme ‘press for progress’ and how they press forward to progress gender parity in their chosen disciplines.

Ms Prichard, who died in 1969, championed this theme at the first IWD event when she said, “I write to reach people’s common sense and intelligence, to show them that if they unite they can make a different world possible.”

She was the first Australian to gain international recognition for her 1915 novel The Pioneers and was famously played on the big screen by Georgette Withers in Shine with Geoffery Rush where her friendship with pianist David Helfgott was brought to life.

KSP Writers’ Centre director Shannon Coyle said the organisation’s namesake was a notable supporter of the arts as well as Helfgott who would visit weekly to play for her.

“Katharine’s greatest literary work was achieved at her Greenmount home in the 1920s, now known as the KSP Writers’ Centre, working from a studio built with prize money won from her first novel,” she said.

“Over the course of the next five decades, Katharine was a staunch supporter of the arts, hosting authors and artists from across the country to discuss literature and encourage the work of others.”

The Morley resident, whose work it is to preserve the memory of Ms Prichard and celebrate her legacy, said it was women like her who paved the way for future generations.

The Hills Author Tribute event will be held on March 8 at Perth Town Hall from 5.30-7.30pm.

Free VIP tickets are available until March 2 otherwise general admission is $20 which includes canapes and non-alcoholic drinks.

For tickets, visit eventbrite.com.au.

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