Registrations for 10 Great Books 2023 have now closed.
About 10 Great Books
Melbourne’s favourite book club will return for its tenth year in 2023, with a new booklist and some exciting new features. The 10 Great Books series gives you a front row seat to learn about books that have shaped the way we see the world.
Each month from February to November, our expert presenters will explore a selected text to demonstrate how it reflects its environment and how it can help us examine our own. You’ll have the chance to connect directly with our presenters by asking questions and sharing your views as we dissect the legacies of these pivotal works.
This series is for lovers of reading and learning – no prior study in literature is required, just a desire to delve into old favourites and discover new ones. Guided by our host, the Reverend Professor Russell Goulbourne, Dean of the Faculty of Arts, you'll benefit from a lifetime of expertise delivered directly to you via our online platform.
In 2023, we’re delighted to be working with our friends at State Library Victoria to bring you added value and exclusive content, including in-person activities for subscribers.
Join our vibrant community of passionate booklovers as we celebrate ten years of 10 Great Books.
In 2023, 10 Great Books will once again use our online platform to distribute and showcase series content. As a subscriber, you'll have access to the platform from 1 February 2023 to 31 January 2024.
You’ll also have opportunities to meet up in-person at State Library Victoria*, including:
- A social event and book swap on Sunday 26 March.
- A hybrid Q&A (delivered in-person and online) on Tuesday 26 September.
Subscribers will receive scholarly content from our presenters each month, including:
- Masterclass video presentations.
- Monthly Q&A sessions where you can ask questions directly to the experts.
You’ll deepen your understanding of each text through extra resources and content, including:
- Insightful introductions to each text from our presenters to help guide your reading.
- Further reading suggestions and resources to contextualise each book.
- A monthly discussion forum where you can share your ideas and questions with the 10 Great Books community.
- Recordings of each month's Q&A session.
*In-person events will be free to attend but with a limited capacity. All 10 Great Books subscribers will receive an invitation to register.
Book list and program schedule for 2023
Our book list for 2023 spans countries, cultures and millennia. You'll broaden your perspective as you encounter diverse voices on the issues that define our past and will shape our future – including gender, race, class and community.
See below for book, presenter and live Q&A details:
February: Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina, 1878
A passionate love story, a family saga, and a conversion narrative – all set against a powerful evocation of pre-revolutionary Russian society and its uneasy social, cultural, religious, and economic politics.
Presented by Professor Stephanie Trigg, Redmond Barry Distinguished Professor of English Literature.
Live Zoom Q&A: 6.30pm-7.15pm Tuesday 28 February
March: Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird, 1960
One of the most enduringly controversial novels of twentieth century American literature, the characters of Scout, Atticus Finch, and Tom Robinson remain totemic of a nation struggling with economic depression and racial injustice.
Presented by Professor Timothy Lynch, Professor in American Politics and Associate Dean (International).
Live Zoom Q&A: 6.30pm-7.15pm Tuesday 28 March
April: The Tibetan Book of the Dead (Bardo Thodol)
A comprehensive guide to the dying process that articulates Buddhist views on the nature of reality and human consciousness, while also offering empathetic, practical assistance to the dying and bereaved – and indeed, to the dead.
Presented by Dr Hannah Gould, a socio-cultural anthropologist working in the areas of death ritual, Buddhism, and material culture.
Live Zoom Q&A: 6.30pm-7.15pm Wednesday 26 April
May: F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby, 1925
This masterpiece routinely tops lists of the greatest American novels ever written. But why? What makes this brief novel about an adulterous love affair – and about dreams, disillusionment, and power – among the super-rich in jazz-age New York so transcendent?
Presented by Professor Sarah Churchwell, Professor in American Literature and Chair of Public Understanding of the Humanities at the School of Advanced Study, University of London.
Live Zoom Q&A: 6.30pm-7.15pm Tuesday 30 May
June: Kim Scott, Benang: From the Heart, 1999
This Miles Franklin Award-winning novel focuses on the history of the forced separation of Aboriginal children from family and community in Western Australia during the twentieth century in a story that is simultaneously sad, humorous and clever.
Presented by Professor Tony Birch, author and current Boisbouvier Chair in Australian Literature at the University of Melbourne.
Live Zoom Q&A: 6.30pm-7.15pm Tuesday 27 June
July: Shirley Hazzard, The Transit of Venus, 1980
This beloved Australian novel charts an intimate story of two orphaned sisters with a backdrop of planetary scale. Watch the fateful moments of their youth unfold into tangled futures across decades and continents.
Presented by Dr Ashley Barnwell, Senior Lecturer in Sociology in the School of Social and Political Sciences.
Live Zoom Q&A: 6.30pm-7.15pm Tuesday 25 July
August: Sophocles, Antigone, 441 BCE
This Ancient Greek play is a devastating battle between two strong-willed individuals: Creon, the king of Thebes, and his niece Antigone who, even in the face of death, chooses her sisterly duty over the law.
Presented by Associate Professor James ‘K.O.’ Chong-Gossard, Associate Professor of Classics.
Live Zoom Q&A: 6.30pm-7.15pm Tuesday 29 August
September: Sylvia Plath, The Bell Jar, 1963
A subversive semi-autobiographical novel whose reception and cultural resonance have always been inextricable from the life and notorious death of its author. Shockingly frank in its depiction of mental illness and studded with Plath’s vivid poeticism, the book is an unorthodox narrative of a female coming of age.
Presented by Professor Sarah Holland-Batt, poet, editor and critic.
Live hybrid Q&A at State Library Victoria: 6.30pm-7.15pm Tuesday 26 September
October: David Malouf, Remembering Babylon, 1993
One of David Malouf’s most celebrated works, this novel follows the story of Gemmy, a confounding ‘in-between creature’ whose liminality explores the deep anxieties of racism and the Australian settlers’ experience of exile in an unfamiliar landscape.
Presented by Professor Robyn Eckersley, Redmond Barry Distinguished Professor in Political Science.
Live Zoom Q&A: 6.30pm-7.15pm Tuesday 31 October
November: Miles Franklin, My Brilliant Career, 1901
Written when Miles Franklin was just 19 years old, this classic Australian novel retains an impressive relevance for contemporary readers, with its distinctive voice, critical self-referentiality, and proto-feminism revealing Franklin as a writer of precocious maturity and insight.
Presented by Emily Bitto, award-winning writer and Faculty of Arts alum.
Live Zoom Q&A: 6.30pm-7.15pm Tuesday 28 November
Registrations for 10 Great Books 2023 have now closed.
- $110 General admission
- $90 University of Melbourne alumni, staff, and students
- $90 State Library Victoria members
Thinking of a gift? This season we're offering 10 Great Books gift cards. The perfect present for your bookworm friend or family member.
For accessibility information and ticketing terms and conditions, please visit our Frequently asked questions web page.
Acquiring the books
The Faculty of Arts is pleased to work with our friends at Readings to offer a dedicated 10 Great Books webpage where you can easily purchase our set texts online.
You may also be interested in purchasing the texts as e-books or audio books from your preferred provider.
Your local library is another great affordable option. And of course you can always beg, borrow or steal from your family and friends’ bookshelves – just make sure you return it when you’re done!
Celebrating ten years of 10 Great Books
10 Great Books is celebrating its tenth anniversary in 2023 – an exciting milestone for the Faculty of Arts’ flagship community education program.
From Austen to Atwood, classics to contemporaries, the series has explored the humanities, social sciences and languages through 100 remarkable texts.
To celebrate ten years of 10 Great Books, we’ll be bringing you the ultimate reader’s companion with thought-provoking discussion questions, expert reading guides, and a deep dive into the archives.
Stay tuned for more!
Check out our FAQ page for more information on all our Community Education courses.
Have a question that hasn't been answered?
We'd be happy to help. Contact:
Phone: +61 3 8344 2543