A shrewdly comic debut from Ling Ma, Severance ponders family, capitalism and zombies. The story of a millennial worker bee who joins a small band of survivors after a devastating plague sweeps the planet, Severance achieves a blend of pathos and humour that The New Yorker compared to George Saunders and Infinite Jest. Join Rebecca Harkins-Cross as she meets one of the year’s most exciting new authors to discuss her searing, deadpan critique of modern life. 

This event has been cancelled.

Ling Ma (International)

Ling Ma

Ling Ma no longer appears at the Festival.

Ling Ma is author of the novel Severance, which received the Kirkus Prize and was a New York Times Notable Book of 2018. Her work has appeared in Granta, Playboy, Vice, Ninth Letter, ACM and others. She holds an MFA from Cornell University and an AB from the University of Chicago, where she currently serves as Assistant Professor of Practice in the Arts. “Severance is the best work of fiction I’ve read yet about the millennial condition―the alienation and cruelty that comes with being a functional person under advanced global capitalism, and the compromised pleasures and irreducibly personal meaning to be found in claiming some stability in a terrible world.” ― Jia Tolentino, New Yorker staff writer.

Rebecca Harkins-Cross (Australian)

Rebecca Harkins-Cross

Rebecca Harkins-Cross is a Melbourne-based writer and critic. Her award-winning work has been published widely across Australia and the world, appearing in publications like Art Das Kunstmagazin, Lithub, CNN Style, The Saturday Paper, The Australian, The Monthly Online, Meanjin and Island. She is currently the film columnist for The Lifted Brow and a PhD candidate in Creative Writing at Monash University; past roles include film editor at The Big Issue and theatre critic at The Age.