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Lethal practice: Murder, mayhem & malice in the medical world

July 28, 2023 @ 8:00 pm 10:00 pm

Medicine is supposed to be about healing and helping but the medical world can also offer many opportunities to do harm . . . even kill. Irrespective of serial killers like Dr Harold Shipman, the drugs, pharmaceutical trials, surgical implements, and all the money involved means that the practice of medicine can easily attract wrong-doing. On top of this, institutional misogyny and sexism mean that hospitals and pharmaceutical companies can become scenes of (the) crime.

The three authors, Anne Buist (Locked Ward), Jacinta Halloran (Dissection), and Sue White (Cut) – all medical doctors – know the issues firsthand and will tell all to host Toni Jordan.

Anne Buist is the Chair of Women’s Mental Health at the University of Melbourne. She has thirty years clinical and research experience in perinatal psychiatry, including perinatal medicolegal work (cases of infanticide, kidnapping, murder, and abuse) for Protective Services, Children’s and Criminal courts.

She is the author of four crime novels with tart noir heroine, psychiatrist Natalie King, Medea’s Curse (shortlisted for the Davitt as debut and overall), Dangerous to Know, This I Would Kill For, and Locked Ward (released January) and a stand-alone rural thriller set around a postnatal depression group, The Long Shadow. She has been married to Graeme Simsion for thirty years, and with him has written feel-good mid-age-finding-yourself novel on the Camino and Chemin dÁssie/Via Francigena: Two Steps Forward, and Two Steps Onward which were published in 14 countries. Their joint book set in a health facility, Out of the Blue, will be released next March.

Jacinta Halloran is the author of the novels Dissection, shortlisted for the 2007 Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for an Unpublished Manuscript; Pilgrimage, shortlisted for the 2014 Barbara Jefferis Award; and The Science of Appearances. Her new novel, Resistance, was published in March. She is a former board member of the Stella Prize, and was a GP for many years.

Dissection, republished in February, features Dr Anna McBride whose life is starting to unravel. The mother of two boys and a dedicated GP, she is being sued for medical negligence—a case of delayed diagnosis . . .

Susan White’s first adult novel, Cut, tells the story of Carla, a young doctor striving to become the first female surgeon at a prestigious Melbourne hospital. When a consultant post opens up, she competes with her lover for the job and thinks she can be judged on merit. But an assault after a boozy workplace dinner leaves her traumatised and struggling to cope with the misogyny coming from every corner of her workplace. Recovering her fragmented memories from that night, Carla begins a fight for justice that will shake the foundations of the hospital she loves.

Susan White is a clinical geneticist. She hunts for answers to undiagnosed genetic conditions in children – a kind of DNA-sleuth for kids, minus the trench coat. Susan’s writing takes the reader inside the medical world, without the boring bits. Her novel, Cut, was shortlisted for the Kill Your Darlings’ Unpublished Manuscript Award in 2017. Her writing has been published in The Big Issue, The School Magazine, Melbourne’s Child Magazine, and The Reader anthology from the Emerging Writers’ Festival.

Toni Jordan is the author of seven novels. Her debut, the international best-seller Addition, was longlisted for the Miles Franklin award, was a Richard and Judy book club pick, and won the Indie Award for best first book. Fall Girl was published internationally and Nine Days was awarded Best Fiction at the 2012 Indie Awards and was named in Kirkus Review’s top 10 Historical Novels of 2013. Our Tiny, Useless Hearts (2016) was longlisted for the International Dublin Literary Award and for the Voss Literary Award. Toni has been published widely in newspapers and magazines. She holds a Bachelor of Science in physiology and a PhD in creative arts. Her most recent novel is Prettier if She Smiled More (2023).

Venue: The Rising Sun Hotel (upstairs – no lift), cnr Raglan Street and Eastern Road, South Melbourne. Free on-street parking after 6 pm. Men or ‘brothers-in-law’ welcome.


Sun Bookshop stall: members receive a 10% discount

Additional information: Carmel Shute 0412 569 356 admin@sistersincrime.org.au; www.sistersincrime.org.au

$52 – $60 Entry and dinner combined charge: $60 non-members; $55 concession; $52 Sisters in Crime and Writers Victoria members, $50 under 19. Please book by 2 pm Thursday 27 July. Tickets not sold prior to the event will be available at the door for $62/$57/$55/$52. Dinner upstairs from 6.30-7.30 pm. Orders need to be in by 7 pm.

Rising Sun Hotel

2 Raglan St
South Melbourne, Vic 3205 Australia
9696 2411
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