Articles Breakfast Talk: Zeno Sworder, author of My Shrinking Parents, shares stories of immigration and love

As part of our Melbourne studio’s Breakfast Talk series, award winning author and illustrator, Zeno Sworder recently shared his personal story of growing up as a son of mixed-heritage immigrants.

Zeno’s story, which starts in country Victoria and shifts to the Public Housing Commission Flats in Melbourne, is one of love and determination as he and his family find their way in the world.

Zeno shared recollections of his parents’ philosophies about life in the modern world with rich insights borne from Buddhist and Greek philosophies. A word Zeno shared, and which struck a chord with many at the event, is ‘eudemonia’. As noted by the Berkley Well-being Institute →, Aristotle’s definition of eudaimonia focuses on the pursuit of virtue, excellence, and the best within us” (Huta & Waterman, 2014; pp. 1426)

He gave generous insights into what it was like to be an adolescent growing up in Melbourne’s public housing commission flats, and how this experience shaped him and his peers in various ways.

Zeno concluded his personal story with a reading of his award-winning children’s book, My Shrinking Parents, which follows the journey of a child in relation to his parents as they seek to offer all they can possibly give. Their own journey is selfless and virtuous – and perhaps demonstrates the meaning of eudaimonia.

Zeno’s talk was a powerful reminder of the personal journey many individuals undertake to seek a better life, often for their children. It was an honour to have Zeno share his story with us and our guests in such a generous and heartfelt way.

Neil Stonell, Managing Partner, Melbourne

Watch Zeno's talk here.

Curated by Tava Darakamaran, the Breakfast Talk series is now in its seventh year.