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Penmanship Episode 23: Anne Summers (May 2016)

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Published on May 3, 2016

Episode 23 of Penmanship, a podcast about Australian writing culture hosted by Andrew McMillen.

Anne Summers is an author, journalist, editor, publisher and columnist.

The fact that I need to use five adjectives to accurately describe her role in Australian writing culture speaks volumes about Anne's impact, influence and ability. To my knowledge, she is the first guest of Penmanship to appear on an Australian postage stamp, as part of a series celebrating Australian legends in 2011. Her career began with the publication of an ambitious and controversial book named 'Damned Whores and God's Police' in 1975. Anne has written eight books so far, but it's the updated 2016 edition of that first title which brings her to Brisbane in late April for an event at Avid Reader bookstore.

Before the 40th anniversary book launch at Avid, I met Anne at her hotel room in South Brisbane for a conversation which touches on how she became a contributing writer to Australian newspapers and radio while still a child; the difficult and lengthy process of writing 'Damned Whores and God's Police'; how she made the transition from journalism to working for a prime minister – twice! – in 1983 and 1992; what makes a great magazine profile, and how she decided to launch her online magazine Anne Summers Reports after a disagreement with an editor at a major Australian magazine.

Dr Anne Summers AO is a best-selling author and journalist with a long career in politics, the media, business and the non-government sector in Australia, Europe and the United States. She is author of eight books, including the classic 'Damned Whores and God’s Police', first published in 1975. This bestseller was updated in 1994 and, again, in 2002 and stayed continuously in print until 2008. A new edition was published on International Women’s Day 2016. In 1975 she became a journalist, first on The National Times, then in 1979 was appointed Canberra bureau chief for the Australian Financial Review and then the paper’s North American editor. In 1987 in New York she was editor-in-chief of Ms. – America’s landmark feminist magazine – and the following year, with business partner Sandra Yates bought Ms. and Sassy magazines in the second only women-led management buyout in US corporate history. In November 2012 she began publishing Anne Summers Reports, a lavish free digital magazine that promises to be ‘Sane, Factual, Relevant’ and which reports on politics, social issues, art, architecture and other subjects not covered adequately by the mainstream media. In September 2013, Anne launched her series of Anne Summers Conversations events with former prime minister Julia Gillard in front of a packed Sydney Opera House. In 1989 she was made an Officer in the Order of Australia for her services to journalism and to women. In 2011, along with three other women, Anne was honoured as an Australian Legend with her image placed on a postage stamp.

Anne Summers on Twitter: @SummersAnne
Penmanship on Twitter: @PenmanshipAU
Andrew McMillen on Twitter: @Andrew_McMillen

Show notes: http://penmanshippodcast.com/episode-...

The theme song for Penmanship is ‘Eternally Yours‘ by Australian band Laughing Clowns, used with permission of band leader and songwriter Ed Kuepper. I recommend purchasing 'Cruel, But Fair – The Complete Clowns Recordings' via iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/au/album/cru...

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