Tackling the issues that shape us

THINKER: Robert Manne. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

THINKER: Robert Manne. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

RENOWNED intellectual and emeritus professor at La Trobe University Robert Manne will be in Bendigo this weekend to hold talks at the Writers Festival. 

The talks are part of Professor Manne's Ideas and Society series through La Trobe University.

Our Nation's War will be a discussion between Professor Manne and author of Broken Nation, Joan Beaumont, about the impact of the Great War on Australian society. 

Professor Manne said the discussion was deliberately in time with the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War.

They will discuss the significance of the landing of Australian soldiers at Gallipoli. Professor Manne said ANZAC Day had almost become more important and more meaningful than Australia Day - a phenomenon which has grown in the last couple of decades. 

In Search of Lucidity will be a discussion between Professor Manne and famous writer and author of Romulus My Father Raimond Gaita.

"Rai is a very distinguished philosopher," Professor Manne said. 

"He and I are old friends, going back to our University of Melbourne days, we were students together in the 1960s."

Professor Manne said the two would talk about their common political vision and he would ask Gaita to reflect on his own life. 

Professor Manne said he was driven to create the Ideas and Society program because he saw a role for the university "to do something which was showing the connection between the ideas that come and go and their impact on society".

He said there was a need for greater in-depth discussion of ideas because of the failings of mainstream media.

"The level of discussion in the mainstream media is pretty woeful." He said he was often surprised at the popularity of the talks. 

"There is a very significant minority of people who are interested in these things but I’m astonished how many people flock to events concerned with values," he said.

"There is a hunger for discussion in some depth."

Ideas and Society events will be held at The Capital theatre on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Go to bendigowritersfestival.com.au.

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