Creative writing teachers have advised students to ‘write what you know’ for generations. And as the cultural sphere expands and increasingly more voices are finding new avenues to publication and readership, that advice has become much more loaded. Concerns about cultural appropriation and authenticity – about who gets to tell a story, and who owns it – now dominate conversations about literary endeavour and value. Booker Prize–winner Damon Galgut (The Promise), Larissa Behrendt (After Story) and Paige Clark (She Is Haunted) join host Sisonke Msimang to ask: what are the responsibilities and opportunities of the creative writer and artist, and does imagination have its limits?
This event is open captioned.
Damon Galgut (International)
Damon Galgut is the author of nine novels. He won the Booker Prize 2021 for The Promise, having been shortlisted for the prize twice before (The Good Doctor and In A Strange Room). He lives and works in Cape Town.
Larissa Behrendt (Australian)
Larissa Behrendt is a filmmaker, broadcaster, academic and the author of three novels: Home, which won the 2002 David Unaipon Award and the regional Commonwealth Writers' Prize for Best First Book; Legacy, which won the 2010 Victorian Premier's Literary Award for Indigenous Writing; and the bestselling After Story. She has published numerous books on Indigenous legal issues and the influential history book Finding Eliza: Power and colonial storytelling. She was awarded the 2009 NAIDOC person of the Year Award and the 2011 NSW Australian of the Year. She is the host of Speaking Out on ABC Radio and is Distinguished Professor at the Jumbunna Institute at the University of Technology Sydney.
Paige Clark (Australian)
Paige Clark is a Chinese/American/Australian fiction writer, researcher and teacher. Her first book, She Is Haunted, was shortlisted for the Readings Prize 2021. In 2019, she was runner-up for the Peter Carey Short Story Award and shortlisted for the David Harold Tribe Fiction Award. She has her Master of Creative Writing from the University of Melbourne, where she is currently at work on her PhD. Her research addresses the relationship between race, craft and the teaching of creative writing.
Sisonke Msimang (Australian)
Sisonke Msimang is the author of two books: Always Another Country: a memoir of exile and home (2017); and The Resurrection of Winnie Mandela (2018) and has written for a range of publications including The New York Times, Al Jazeera, The Guardian and Newsweek.