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?

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

Presented in partnership with State Library Victoria.

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Episode 4: Alexis Wright in conversation with Christos Tsiolkas

When Christos Tsiolkas was a child, his father, knowing that his son loved to read, would proudly pick up two paperbacks for him from a bookshop on Bridge Road every payday. His picks were eclectic – unable to read the English titles, he would grab everything from Dickens to Mills and Boon – but they fuelled a broad and voracious appetite for books in the young Christos. When asked to consider how he became the writer he is today, the answer comes easily: “by being a reader”.

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.


Alexis Wright
Photo: Vincent Long

About Alexis Wright

Professor Alexis Wright is a member of the Waanyi nation of the Gulf of Carpentaria. She is an author and essayist whose publications include Carpentaria (Giramondo, 2006), awarded the Miles Franklin Award in 2007; The Swan Book (Giramondo, 2013), awarded the Australian Literature Society Gold Medal in 2014, and Tracker (Giramondo, 2017), awarded the Stella Prize in 2018. Her essay ‘What Happens When You Tell Somebody Else’s Story’ (Meanjin, 2016) was awarded the Hilary McPhee Award in 2016. She holds the Boisbouvier Chair in Australian Literature in the Faculty of Arts at the University of Melbourne.

The Boisbouvier Chair in Australian Literature was established in 2015, made possible thanks to a $5 million gift from Mr John Wylie AM and Mrs Myriam Boisbouvier-Wylie.

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