Language & Literature


TIME & DATE: 18:00 – 19:00 (AEDT), 25 MAR (Thurs)

VENUE: Online Zoom

BOOK OF THE MONTH: The Island of Sea Women by Lisa See (해녀들의 섬)

SYNOPSIS: THE ISLAND OF SEA WOMEN offers up an evocative tale of two best friends whose bonds are both strengthened and tested over decades by forces beyond their control. Set largely on the remote Korean island of Jeju, THE ISLAND OF SEA WOMEN follows Young-sook and Mi-ja, girls from strikingly different backgrounds who bond over their shared love of the sea. Working in their village’s all-female diving collective, the two friends come of age in a community where gender roles are anything but typical. Here, women are the primary breadwinners, the heads of household in all but name, and yet, as Mi-ja and Young-sook come to realize, there are limits to their control that can prove devastating.

GUESTS: Australian writer/editor Bri Lee will join us in conversation with Lisa See, author of The Island of Sea Women.

FEE: Free admission

※ Register to win one of 15 copies of our book of the month, signed by the author, Lisa See. (Australian residents only. Winners will receive their books after the event)


Lisa See was born in Paris but grew up in Los Angeles. She lived with her mother but spent a lot of time with her father’s family in Chinatown. These formative years have led her to write New York Times best sellers Snow Flower and the Secret Fan(2005), The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane(2017), Peony in Love(2007), Shanghai Girls(2009), Dreams of Joy(2011), and China Dolls(2014),

Through these works Ms. See has brilliantly illuminated the strong bonds between women and the books have been celebrated for their authentic, deeply researched, lyrical stories about Chinese characters and cultures. Now, in The Island of Sea Women(2019), Ms. See writes about the free-diving women of South Korea’s Jeju Island.

Ms. See has always been intrigued by stories that have been lost, forgotten, or deliberately covered up, whether in the past or happening right now in the world today.

Bri Lee is an Australian author and freelance writer whose work appears in The Monthly, Harper’s Bazaar, The Saturday Paper, Crikey, The Guardian, Griffith Review, and elsewhere. She was the 2020 Copyright Agency x UTS Writer-in-Residence.

Her book, Eggshell Skull(2018) was shortlisted for the 2019 Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards in non-fiction, winning the 2019 People’s Choice Award, and also won the 2018 People’s Choice at the Nib Awards for research in writing, and the 2019 ABIA for Biography of the Year.