Throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries, countless distinguished writers made the long and arduous voyage across the seas to Australia. They came to give lecture tours and make money, to sort out difficult children sent here to be out of the way; for health, for science, to escape demanding spouses back home, or simply to satisfy a sense of adventure.
In 1890, for example, Robert Louis Stevenson and his wife Fanny arrived at Circular Quay after a dramatic sea voyage only to be refused entry at the Victoria, one of Sydney's most elegant hotels. Stevenson threw a tantrum, but was forced to go to a cheaper, less fussy establishment. Next day, the Victoria's manager, recognising the famous author from a picture in the paper, rushed to find Stevenson and beg him to return. He did not.
In Brief Encounters, renowned author and speaker Susannah Fullerton examines a diverse array of writers including Charles Darwin, Rudyard Kipling, Stevenson, Anthony Trollope, Mark Twain, Arthur Conan Doyle, DH Lawrence, Joseph Conrad, HG Wells, Agatha Christie and Jack London to discover what they did when they got here, what their opinion was of Australia and Australians, how the public and media reacted to them, and how their future works were shaped or influenced by this country.
Susannah Fullerton is one of Australia's leading authorities on 19th and early-20th century writers, and is a regular lecturer on the NSW speakers circuit, giving talks on the Bronte sisters, Charles Dickens, Oscar Wilde, Samuel Pepys, the Mitfords and Rudyard Kipling, among others. Each year she leads literary tours to the UK – these are booked up three years in advance. She is the President of the Jane Austen Society of Australia. She has appeared on TV and radio on numerous occasions and has presented papers at Jane Austen conferences and symposiums in Australia, New Zealand, Scotland, England, Fiji, Canada and America.