Hayley Katzen - Untethered

Thursday 14 May 2020
6:30 PM – 7:30 PM
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"Untethered is a magnificently clear-eyed and vivid exploration of belonging. Inquisitive, compassionate, wise and often purely entertaining, this memoir will speak to anyone who has ever wondered about how places and the people that inhabit them shape our lives and hearts." Lee Kofman

Lee Kofman is in-conversation with Hayley Katzen discussing her memoir Untethered.


When urban academic Hayley Katzen moves to a remote Australian cattle property to live with her farmer girlfriend, she hopes, at last, to find home. 

But this is no happy-ever-after tree change. Lecture halls, law reform and the arts are replaced with castrating calves, shovelling manure, fire-fighting and anti-gas blockades. In a place that attracts people who live by their own rules, Hayley must confront her limitations and preconceptions to forge her own identity.   

Set in the unpredictable beauty of the Australian landscape, and told with Hayley Katzen’s compelling candour and rigour, Untethered charts one migrant’s search for home. Part love story and part off-the-grid adventure, Untethered is a powerful reminder that home can be found in many forms – in love, in family and friends, in ideologies and political movements, in landscapes and communities, and ultimately, in ourselves.  

Hayley Katzen migrated from South Africa to Australia in 1989. In Sydney, she graduated with an LLB and worked in public law and law reform before making a sea change to the North Coast of NSW to work as a law lecturer and researcher. Passionate about the power of stories, she quit law to study acting, performed in local plays and wrote and produced a play about asylum seekers. In 2005, Hayley moved to her girlfriend’s cattle farm in the Australian bush and it was here she practised the crafts of short story and essay writing and completed an MFA (Creative Writing). Her writing has won competitions, been read on ABC radio and Queerstories and been published in Australian, American and Asian journals and anthologies including Australian Book Review, Griffith Review, Southerly, Fourth Genre and Kenyon Review. Untethered is her debut memoir. 

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