Acclaimed Australian writers conduct an in-depth examination of the contemporary essay. Rebecca Giggs talks to Jessica Friedmann, author of Things That Helped, a collection of essays tapping critical theory, popular culture and personal experience; award-winning writer and cultural historian Maria Tumarkin; and Fiona Wright, author of the book of essays, Small Acts of Disappearance, which examines her own anorexia and the significance of hunger. Guests traverse the borders of the personal and political, and consider the intersection of literary and journalistic modes.

Maria Tumarkin (Australian)

Maria Tumarkin

Maria Tumarkin is a writer and cultural historian. Her books include Traumascapes, Courage, and Otherland, which was shortlisted for the Victorian Premier’s Award, NSW Premier’s Award and The Age Book of the Year. Her latest book, Axiomatic won the 2018 Melbourne Prize for Literature’s Best Writing Award and was shortlisted for the Stella Prize. Tumarkin’s essays have appeared in The Best Australian Essays, Griffith Review, Meanjin, The Monthly, Sydney Review of Books, The Age, The Australian, and Inside Story. Tumarkin is involved in wide-ranging artistic collaborations with visual artists, theatre makers and audio designers. She was a 2013–14 Sidney Myer Creative Fellow in humanities and is a member of the Melbourne Writers Festival’s programming committee. Maria holds a PhD in cultural history and teaches creative writing at the University of Melbourne.

Rebecca Giggs (Australian)

Rebecca Giggs

Rebecca Giggs is a writer from Perth, Australia. Her work has appeared in Granta, The Atlantic, The New York Times Magazine, Best Australian Essays, Best Australian Science Writing and other publications. Her first book is Fathoms: the world in the whale.