February - November 2017

Ten great books presented by ten celebrated scholars. SOLD OUT.

Please note that 10 Great Books for 2017 is now fully booked.

If you wish to be informed when the 2018 series is announced, you can join our mailing list.

Programme details

This year we celebrate two great Australian works, Donald Horne's pivotal The Lucky Country and David Malouf's iconic first novel Johnno; we explore great European historical fiction with The Lost Estate and The Leopard; we take on the quintessential Greek tragedy Medea; tackle two of the most influential scientific and environmental texts, Darwin's Origin of Species and Silent Spring; argue about the economic and philosophical revolution that was Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations; explore the unpronounceable but highly celebrated 15th century Venetian book Hypnerotomachia Poliphili; and for the first time in the Great Books series we will analyse a religious text, the Qu'ran.

To explore the full program, including an introductory note on each text from our presenters, download the series flyer (2.01Mb pdf)

Download the flyer


Cost: $490 / $445 University of Melbourne Alumni, Staff and Students (series pass)*

*10 Great Books is designed as a course-like structure and therefore only a series pass is available.

Time and venue

  • Once a month, commencing 21 February 2017, on Tuesday evenings, 6.15 - 8.15pm
  • Forum Lecture Theatre, Level 1, Arts West (Building 148), The University of Melbourne, Parkville 3010


Caterina Sciacca, Community Education Manager

Phone: +61 3 8344 3996
Email: caterina.sciacca@unimelb.edu.au

Introductory video


Alain-Fournier, The Lost Estate (Le Grand Meaulnes), 1913

Presenter: Professor Peter McPhee
Date: Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Peter McPhee has published widely on the history of modern France, most recently Robespierre: a Revolutionary Life (2012) and Liberty or Death: The French Revolution 1789-1799 (2016). He was appointed to the position of Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) at The University of Melbourne in 2003 and was the University's first Provost in 2007-09.

Donald Horne, The Lucky Country, 1964

Presenter: Professor Glyn Davis
Date: Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Glyn Davis is Vice-Chancellor of The University of Melbourne and a Political scientist. His most recent publications include The Craft of Governing - the contribution of Patrick Weller to Australian Political Science (2014; ed. With Rhodes R.A.W.) and The Republic of Learning (Boyer lectures, ABC Books 2010).

Adam Smith, An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations (Wealth of Nations), 1776

Presenter: Dr Dan Halliday
Date: Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Dan Halliday works mainly on topics at the intersection of political philosophy and public policy, such as taxation, education, and healthcare. He has recently completed a book, titled Social Justice and Inherited Wealth, which will be published in 2017 with Oxford University Press. Dan has been teaching at The University of Melbourne since 2011, after completing a PhD in political philosophy at Stanford University.

Charles Darwin, On the Origin of Species, 1859

Presenter: Dr James Bradley
Date: Tuesday, 16 May 2017

James Bradley lectures in the History and Philosophy of Science at The University of Melbourne. Aside from teaching a number of University subjects, including 'Darwinism: History of a Very Big Idea', he is the co-author, with Rod Buchanan, of an extended piece about Darwin's delay in publishing his theory that will soon appear in the journal Isis. He is currently researching the relationship between physiology and vivisection in nineteenth-century Britain and writing a biography of the surgeon Sir Charles Bell.

Rachel Carson, Silent Spring, 1962

Presenter: Associate Professor Sara Wills
Date: Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Sara Wills is Associate Dean for Engagement and Advancement in the Faculty of Arts. She coordinates the Executive Master of Arts in which she teaches a subject called 'The Power of Ideas: Ten Great Books'. Known mainly as a historian of migration, her earliest research was on the development of environmental thinking in the nineteenth century and its elaboration into the twentieth century.

David Malouf, Johnno, 1975

Presenter: The Hon Maxine McKew
Date: Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Maxine McKew is an Honorary Fellow of the Melbourne Graduate School of Education, and a former Vice Chancellor's Fellow at The University of Melbourne. Writer and board director, her most recent publication, Class Act (2014), considers some of the biggest challenges in Australian schooling. This followed the success of her political memoir Tales From the Political Trenches (2012). Maxine's background is in politics and journalism. In 1998 she conducted a lengthy interview with David Malouf for Lateline as he prepared to present that year's ABC Boyer Lecture, A Spirit of Play.


Presenter: Professor Abdullah Saeed AM
Date: Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Abdullah Saeed is currently the Sultan of Oman Professor of Arab and Islamic Studies and Director of the National Centre of Excellence for Islamic Studies at The University of Melbourne, Australia. Among his publications are Reading the Qur'an in the Twenty-First Century (2014); Islam and Human Rights (edited, 2012); The Qur'an: An Introduction (2008); and Interpreting the Qur'an: Towards a Contemporary Approach (2006). He is currently a member of the UNESCO Commission of Australia of the Department of Foreign Affairs of Australia.

Francesco Colonna (?), Hypnerotomachia Poliphili, 1499

Presenter: Dr Catherine Kovesi
Date: Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Catherine Kovesi is an historian at The University of Melbourne. Her research and publications focus is on debates surrounding luxury and ethical consumption in early modern Italy with publications such as Sumptuary Law in Italy 1200-1500 (2002) and the forthcoming edited Luxury and the Ethics of Greed in Early Modern Italy. She has an especial interest in the history of Venice, and has been taking students from Melbourne to Venice for many years.

Euripides, Medea, 431 BC

Presenter: Professor Rachel Fensham
Date: Tuesday 17 October 2017

Rachel Fensham is the Assistant Dean of the Digital Studio in the Faculty of Arts and a dance and theatre studies scholar. She is completing a book on costume history in twentieth century concert dance, and has written extensively on theatre reception, feminist performance and digital archives in academic journals and arts reviews. Her most recent books include the co-edited volume, Dancing Naturally (2011), and To Watch Theatre (2009).

Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa, The Leopard (Il Gattopardo), 1958

Presenter: Professor Mark Considine, with special commentary by Dr Mark Nicholls
Date: Tuesday, 21 November 2017

Mark Considine is the Dean of the Faculty of Arts at The University of Melbourne and Redmond Barry Distinguished Professor of Political Science. Mark is a Fellow of the Institute of Public Administration Australia and Fellow of the Australian Academy of Social Sciences. Mark's most recent books are: Considine, M., Lewis, J.M, O'Sullivan, S, and Sol, E., Getting Welfare to Work: Street-level Governance in Australia, the UK and the Netherlands (Oxford University Press, 2015); and Afzal, Kamran Ali and Considine, Mark, Democratic Accountability and International Human Development: Regimes, Institutions and Resources (Routledge, 2015).

Mark Nicholls is Senior Lecturer in Cinema Studies at The University of Melbourne where he has taught film since 1993. Mark is a film journalist and worked for many years on ABC Radio and for The Age newspaper, for which he wrote a weekly film column between 2007 and 2009. Mark has an extensive list of stage credits as a playwright, performer, producer and director.

Please note: Sessions and speakers subject to change.


Caterina Sciacca, Community Education Manager
Phone: +61 3 8344 3996
Email: caterina.sciacca@unimelb.edu.au