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The Australian National University

Biography Workshop

Biography Workshop
Date: 25th February 2016
Venue: Seminar Room A, Coombs Building, ANU
Time: 12.00-1.30 pm

Stephen Foster will talk about microhistory – a small story with potentially large meanings.

In mid-1825 Cecilia Zoffany, daughter of the illustrious painter Johann Zoffany, a woman of ‘rank and fashion’ and reputed to be a great beauty, arrived with two of her children on the island of Guernsey. For the previous three years she had been estranged and living apart from her husband, the Reverend Thomas Horne, who had provided her and the children with sufficient to live on.

Now Reverend Horne was determined to have his children back. His wife was equally determined to keep them. The ensuing battle packed the island’s courthouse and enthralled the local community, until it reached its inevitable climax – and unexpected denouements.

Stephen will discuss the book he wrote about the dispute.

He says 'A book is conventional; but I hope my presentation of the story isn’t. Microhistory lends itself to genre-bending: and here I experiment with voice, structure, tensions between history and fiction, and devices to leave the reader wondering what happens next. I will reflect in the workshop on each of these issues'.

Stephen Foster is an Adjunct Professor in the Humanities Research Centre at the ANU.

Enquiries: Malcolm Allbrook:, ph: 6125 4455

Updated: 18 February 2016/ Responsible Officer:  Director, NCB / Page Contact:  Web Publisher