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Home > Signposts: stories for our fragile times

Signposts: stories for our fragile times


04 September 2020, 9:00am
10 September 2020, 9:00am

Join award-winning author Alexis Wright as she talks to some of Australia’s finest storytellers about catastrophe, resilience and hope.

We are living in increasingly fragile times. Social and economic inequalities endure, our natural world is being destroyed, and forced migration leaves millions displaced.

Writers have always taken inspiration from their environments – so what kind of stories will emerge from these uncertain times?

In the fourth instalment of the Signposts series, Alexis Wright sits down with Christos Tsiolkas to talk about family, doubt, storytelling, looking for God in low places, and the thrill of escaping from the world to fully immerse yourself in research for a new novel. The episode concludes with a reading from Tsiolkas’ award-winning 2019 novel, Damascus.

Presented in partnership with the University of Melbourne’s Faculty of Arts. 

About Christos Tsiolkas

Christos Tsiolkas is a Melbourne-based playwright, essayist, film critic, and award-winning author of six novels, and the short story collection Merciless Gods. His works have been adapted to both the big and small screens. His debut novel Loaded (1995) was made into the feature film Head-On starring Alex Dimitriades. His third novel Dead Europe, which won The Age Book of the Year fiction award, was also adapted for cinema. His 2008 novel The Slap is possibly his best known, taking as its starting point a suburban barbecue in which a man slaps someone else’s child, and exploring the effects it has on the families who witnessed it. The book won the Commonwealth Writer’s Prize and was made into an ABC mini-series, and was then adapted for an American audience into a mini-series starring Peter Sarsgaard, Uma Thurman and Thandie Newton. Barracuda (2013) was also adapted as a mini-series. Christos has been shortlisted for the Miles Franklin Literary Award, longlisted for the Man Booker Prize and been awarded the Australian Literary Society Gold Medal. His most recent novel, Damascus, won the 2020 Victorian Premier’s Prize for Fiction. Christos is also well known for his advocacy on queer issues and on behalf of the migrant and refugee community, specifically through his journalism. He has been a Cultural Ambassador for the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre since 2013 and is also a patron of Writers Victoria.

About Alexis Wright

Alexis Wright is a member of the Waanyi nation of the southern highlands of the Gulf of Carpentaria. The author of the prize-winning novels Carpentaria and The Swan Book, Wright has published three works of non-fiction: Take Power, an oral history of the Central Land Council; Grog War, a study of alcohol abuse in the Northern Territory; and Tracker, an award-winning collective memoir of Aboriginal leader, Tracker Tilmouth. Her books have been published widely overseas, including in China, the US, the UK, Italy, France and Poland. She holds the Boisbouvier Chair in Australian Literature at the University of Melbourne. Wright is the only author to win both the Miles Franklin Award (in 2007 for Carpentaria) and the Stella Prize (in 2018 for Tracker).