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Take Me Away Q&A with Kate Manne

As May rapidly approaches, we are so excited to welcome you to the Festival and to introduce you to the writers who make it all worthwhile. To awaken your Festival spirit, we're got a series of Q&As to introduce some of the 2024 participants. Get to know them as we discuss their reading, their writing practice and the Festival theme, Take Me Away.

Associate Professor of philosophy at Cornell University, Kate Manne has been described as "philosopher of the #MeToo movement" for her scholarship on themes of misogyny and violence towards women in our contemporary world. Her newest book, Unshrinking: How to Fight Fatphobia, unpicks the dangerous virtues associated with dieting and deprivation, using a blend of first-hand stories and trenchant analysis.

What’s on your TBR pile for your flight to Australia?

I’ll be traveling with a four-year-old, so it may be Bluey on a tablet on repeat for me! But, if I get lucky, I’ll be diving into Asako Yuzuki’s novel Butter, which I have heard described as a “tasty exposé of fatphobia.”

Is there a book you wish you could read for the first time again?

Thick: And Other Essays by the sociologist and cultural critic Tressie McMillan Cottom. It truly blew my mind with its incisive, brilliant and trenchant analyses of the intersections between gender, race, size and more.

What interests you about the philosophy of social issues like misogyny and fatphobia?

I think they affect so many of us, and yet they’re not well-understood. Oftentimes, we feel uncomfortable centring their primary targets and victims—in the case of misogyny, girls and women—and so we end up not tackling them as a society. I want to be part of the effort to address that and to expose these bankrupt systems for what they are.

What’s something you wish more people understood about your research and writing?

I suppose I might say that I feel that the very act of thinking and writing is a moral exercise; I feel deeply responsible to my readers, to the people who are the targets and victims of the systems I’m trying to dismantle, and also to not harm as a privileged white woman whose perspective is inevitably limited by my privilege.

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