While Australian censors once banned novels by the likes of Baldwin, Burroughs and even Balzac on the grounds of obscenity, the role of transgressive fiction in challenging and disturbing sexual mores has seemingly changed in an era when sex is increasingly mainstream. Fiona McGregor sits down with guest curator Christos Tsiolkas, Affection and Triptych author Krissy Kneen and The Pillars novelist Peter Polites to explore modern writing that dares to take us to uncomfortable erotic spaces usually only visible after midnight. They discuss what it means to be transgressive in an era of keen awareness of sexual abuse and damage.
Supported by the University of Sydney.
Christos Tsiolkas (Australian)
Christos Tsiolkas is the author of six novels, including Dead Europe, Loaded and Barracuda. His novel The Slap won Overall Best Book in the Commonwealth Writers' Prize 2009, was shortlisted for the 2009 Miles Franklin Literary Award, longlisted for the 2010 Man Booker Prize, won the Australian Literary Society Gold Medal, and was announced as the 2009 Australian Booksellers Association and Australian Book Industry Awards Books of the Year. Many of his books have been adapted for film, TV and for the stage. Christos is also a playwright, essayist and film critic for The Saturday Paper. His latest novel is Damascus.
Krissy Kneen (Australian)
Krissy Kneen is the award-winning author of nine books of fiction, non-fiction and poetry. She was shortlisted for the Stella Prize in 2018 and won the Thomas Shapcott Award in 2014. She has written and directed broadcast documentaries for SBS and ABC TV and is currently developing TV series and Feature films with STAN and SBS and Madman entertainment.
Peter Polites (Australian)
Peter Polites is a writer of Greek descent from Western Sydney. Peter writes and performs pieces all over Australia, and also writes performance texts for Urban Theatre Projects. His first novel Down the Hume was shortlisted for a NSW Premier's Literary Award in 2017. His second novel, The Pillars, is a dark satire of gay and ethnic aspirations.
Fiona McGregor (Australian)
Fiona McGregor is a Sydney writer and artist. She has published 6 books, including the novel Indelible Ink which won Age Book of the Year. In 2019, Giramondo published the photoessay A Novel Idea, a tongue-in-cheek rumination on the process of writing a novel through the rubric of endurance performance. Her collection of essays Buried not Dead is due release in 2020. Fiona is also working on a duet of historical novels set in Sydney’s sly-grog era.