HNSA’s podcast Imagining the Past is back for another series in 2021. In this week’s episode, G.S. Johnston is joined by Sienna Brown to chat writing, multifaceted research, constructing Jamaican patois, and her novel, Master of My Fate.

Sienna Brown was born in Kingston, Jamaica, and grew up in Canada. But it wasn’t until a move to Sydney that she came across William Buchanan’s story and was struck with a sense of fate – this story of a lost man far from home resonated with her own feelings of displacement. A lifelong storyteller and daughter of Jamaican parents, Sienna was captivated by William’s story and the way it intersected with her own cultural background.

She’s been a professional dancer, film editor and documentary director, and worked at Sydney Living Museums, where she first came across William’s story. In 2020, Master Of My Fate won the MUD Literary Award for best Australian debut novel and was also shortlisted for the ARA Historical Novel Prize. She is currently working on her second historical fiction novel: Heat In The Afternoon.

She’s just been commissioned by ABC Radio National to co-produce with Dr Ben Etherington: Where do you come From? Caribbean Convicts In Australia, a documentary podcast for the History Listen series. Research for this project has been funded by the School of Humanities and Communication Arts, Western Sydney University.

Sienna Brown at HNSA’s 2021 Virtual Conference

Sienna Brown will be appearing at HNSA’s 2021 Virtual Conference in October. Sienna will join Kelly Gardiner (Chair), Kelly Rimmer and Sue Williams on the panel Bio-Fiction: Which Lies Do We Tell?

Biographies are full of facts as well as fictionalised versions of the truth. Which of these take precedence when telling the story of someone else’s life? The panel will chat about how they navigated between the two, and what choices they made to write compelling biographical fiction.

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