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Open Right

Bri Lee

Author, Social Issues

Bri Lee is an author, freelance writer, and speaker based in Sydney.

After graduating from the University of Queensland with a Bachelor of Law (Hons) and Arts (Mandarin) degree in 2014, she was admitted to the legal profession early in 2017. Bri is now completing an MPhil in Creative Writing.

Her first book, a memoir called Eggshell Skull, was published by Allen & Unwin in June 2018. It explores sexism in the legal industry and justice system, and tells the story of how many barriers women—including Bri herself—face when trying to access justice. The book won several awards including the Biography of the Year at the Australian Book Industry Awards. It also received several other listings, including being longlisted for The Stella Prize.

Bri is a well-known advocate for criminal justice law reform. She worked as a Research Assistant to Prof. Jonathan Crowe at Bond University where together they co-authored a paper detailing Queensland’s consent and ‘mistake of fact’ laws. After more than a year of campaigning their work was successful, and the Queensland Attorney-General referred the issue to the Law Reform Commission.

Bri’s second book is an essay called Beauty, and will be out in November 2019.

Where were you born?

Brisbane. I lived in the same house for the first twenty years of my life!

What other jobs have you had?

I waitressed from age 14 to 24 at all kinds of restaurants (hence my love of food and food writing). When I finished law school, I got a job as a judge’s associate in the Queensland District Court. The role took me all over regional Queensland and I saw a new criminal trial and several new sentences every week. It was gruelling and eye-opening, and made me believe that change needed to happen because I saw how many barriers women face when trying to access justice. I started writing about it at the end of that time and never looked back.

What themes are recurring in your work?

My memoir is about being honest with ourselves and honest with others. All my work around women’s interests is about how our existence in the world is challenging – the objectification of women and the focus on women as aesthetic beings instead of intellectual ones is directly connected to workplace discrimination and inequality, which is directly related to harassment and eventually assault. Women in court are cross-examined about what they wear. Girls are sexualised years before the age of consent. It’s all connected.

What have been the highlights of your career?

I took a man to court and got him convicted for sex crimes the day before I turned 26. Everything else comes in silver. I go to the grave clutching that gold.

Where have your works been published?

The Guardian, Griffith Review, Kill Your Darlings, VICE, Vault Art Magazine, Time Out, and elsewhere. I’ve also spoken on ABC Radio National, and on Late Night Live with Phillip Adams.

Haven’t I seen you before?

I am the “tall lady with long red hair who wears loud clothes” so perhaps!

Anything else you’d like to share with us?

I have two pet guinea pigs and they are the best.

 

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