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 2: Alexis Wright in conversation with Peter Carey

Lately, Peter Carey has been feeling as through he’s living in one of his early short stories about collapsing, oppressive societies: “The time we’re in now feels like the sort of things I was terrified of and imagined when I was in my 20s and 30s”.

In episode two of Signposts: stories for our fragile times, the much-lauded and prolific Carey sits down with host Alexis Wright to share what life has been like in the turbulent “whirlpool” of his adopted home town, New York City, why storytelling will always flourish despite adversity, and the process of addressing the repercussions of Australia’s brutal colonial past in his most recent book A Long Way from Home.

To close the episode, Carey offers a rare reading from his work, bringing to life the voices of two characters that lived against the odds: Irene Bobs, from A Long Way from Home, and Ned Kelly himself, as featured in Carey’s Booker-winning 2000 novel, True History of the Kelly Gang, recently adapted for television.

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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