Thu, 23 May | Upstairs at Better Read Than Dead

Tanya Bretherton on The Suicide Bride

Could a chilling murder-suicide in Newtown in early 1904 answer the age-old question of whether depravity is caused by nature or nurture? Sociologist Dr Tanya Bretherton investigates the heartbreaking story of the suicide bride Ellie Sly & unearths a part of Newtown's history.
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Tanya Bretherton on The Suicide Bride

Time & Location

23 May 2019, 6:30 pm
Upstairs at Better Read Than Dead, 265 King Street, Newtown NSW, Australia

About The Event

Whenever society produces a depraved criminal we wonder: is it nature or is it nurture? Could a chilling murder-suicide in Newtown in early 1904 answer that question? Join author and sociologist Dr Tanya Bretherton who will throw a spotlight on a dark corner of Newtown's history as she dissects the heartbreaking story of Ellie Sly, the suicide bride, the chilling story of a charlatan, a murdersuicide, and a family tree so twisted that it sprouts monsters.

About the Book

Whenever society produces a depraved criminal, we wonder: is it nature or is it nurture?

When the charlatan Alicks Sly murdered his wife, Ellie, and killed himself with a cut-throat razor in a house in Sydney's Newtown in early 1904, he set off a chain of events that could answer that question. He also left behind mysteries that might never be solved. Sociologist Dr Tanya Bretherton traces the brutal story of Ellie, one of many suicide brides in turn-of-the-century Sydney; of her husband, Alicks, and his family; and their three orphaned sons, adrift in the world.

From the author of the acclaimed The Suitcase Baby - shortlisted for the 2018 Ned Kelly Award, Danger Prize and Waverley Library 'Nib' Award - comes another riveting true-crime case from Australia's dark past. The Suicide Bride is a masterful exploration of criminality, insanity, violence and bloody family ties in bleak, post-Victorian Sydney.

About the Author

Tanya Bretherton has a PhD in sociology with special interests in narrative life history and social history. She has published in the academic and public sphere for twenty years, and worked as a Senior Research Fellow at the University of Sydney for fifteen years.

She has also worked as a columnist, and had an ongoing partnership with national workplace magazine The Intelligence Report for over a decade. Currently she works as a freelance researcher and writer.

Her first book, The Suitcase Baby (2018), was shortlisted for the 2018 Ned Kelly Award, the Danger Prize and the Waverley Library 'Nib' Award. The Suicide Bride is her second book.

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