Some of Australia’s most celebrated authors discuss the non-English traditions in their writing. Australian literature is at an exciting moment, with writers from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds contributing more and more to our literary culture. Though multiculturalism has meant that there have always been international ideologies at play in our streets, we are increasingly seeing a culturally diverse presence in literature. Guest curator Peter Polites (Down the Hume) talks to writers Maxine Beneba Clarke (The Hate Race) and Rajith Savanadasa (Ruins) about why, as an Australian writer, it can be important to move away from the borders that are girt by sea?
Curated by Peter Polites.
Maxine Beneba Clarke (Australian)
Maxine Beneba Clarke is the author of the critically acclaimed memoir The Hate Race, which is currently being adapted for stage for Melbourne's Malthouse theatre, and the Indie and ABIA Award-winning short fiction collection Foreign Soil. She is also the author of the poetry collection Carrying The World, which won the 2017 Victorian Premier's Literary Award for Poetry. Her first children's picture book The Patchwork Bike, a collaboration with Melbourne artist Van Rudd, was published in 2016. She writes for The Saturday Paper.
Rajith Savanadasa (Australian)
Rajith Savanadasa was born in Sri Lanka and now lives in Melbourne. His first novel Ruins was published in 2016 and shortlisted for the Readings Prize for New Australian Fiction. Rajith also runs Open City Stories, an oral history project documenting the lives of a group of asylum seekers in Melbourne. Rajith is currently working on a follow-up to Ruins as well as the next phase of Open City Stories.
Peter Polites (Australian)
Peter Polites is a Western Sydney-based writer. In 2014 he wrote and appeared in the Sweatshop performance writing production Three Jerks. In 2015 he was a recipient of the WestWords writing fellowship. He wrote Steps into Katouna, a performance text for Urban Theatre Projects that was put on for Sydney Festival 2017. Down the Hume is his first novel: it is part noir, part melodrama, part queer and all Western Sydney.