Author explores the notion of belonging in a social context

Author and social researcher Hugh Mackay will explore the notion of community when he delivers the annual Friends of Maitland City Library Lecture tonight.
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A newspaper columnist for more than 25 years, Mr Mackay is an honorary professor of social science at the University of Wollongong, an adjunct professor in the faculty of arts at Charles Sturt University and a patron of the Asylum Seekers’ Centre.

He is the author of 14 books, nine in the field of social psychology and five novels.

His latest book The Art of Belonging, to be released next month, advances the argument put forward in The Good Life, which was released in May 2013.

That book argues that a good life is not lived in isolation or in the pursuit of independent goals. A good life is lived at the heart of a thriving community, among people we trust and within an environment of ­mutual respect.

Drawing on 50 years experience as a social researcher, Mackay creates a fictional suburb, Southwood, and populates it with characters who like most of us struggle to reconcile their need to belong with their desire to live life on their own terms.

He chronicles the numerous human interactions and inevitable conflicts that arise in a community when characters assert their own needs at the expense of others.

Through a series of riveting, interconnected stories, the author reveals the symmetry of the human condition: we need communities, but communities also need us.

“It is Maitland City Library’s vision to connect our community and we are delighted to have a speaker of Hugh’s calibre discussing the importance of community, reigniting the conversation about how we want to live,” city librarian Keryl Collard.

“This is an evening not to be missed.”

The lecture starts at 6pm at Maitland Gaol.

Bookings can be made online at maitland.nsw.gov.au/Library

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