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August 10, 2019

This year, TEDxUQ chose the theme Ask Why to celebrate curiosity and to challenge what we think we know. What is curiosity? It is the young child who will ask why the sky is blue, the scientist on the brink of discovery, or the entrepreneur at the start of a groundbreaking venture. Ask Why was inspired by the curious, the innovators, and the ground shakers.

As a novelist and lawyer, Simon Cleary published his third novel, The War Artist, in 2019. Through the characters of a brigadier, a nurse, and a tattoo artist, this novel lays bare the devastating effects of war trauma in the context of the current 18-year conflict in Afghanistan and explores paths to healing from PTSD. His first novel, The Comfort of Figs (2008), investigates the changes to landscapes that come with building cities. Simon’s experiences hitch-hiking through Algeria at the outbreak of civil war informed Closer to Stone (2012), which deals with the impacts of extreme beliefs. Simon has also worked in the justice system in Australia in a range of roles. His writing is shaped by the lessons he has learned from advocating for people at times of stress in their lives. In his talk, Simon will describe how research can enhance fiction, and explore the power of novels to spark change in people and communities.


August 10, 2019


University of Queensland
Engineering Building, UQ
St Lucia, Queensland Australia
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