I’ve been impatiently waiting for Peter Polites to write a book for years, and his debut is everything I’d hoped for. Down the Hume, a queer noir, is unpretentious, spare and squarely placed in his native Western Sydney. In his stream of events, Peter examines borders: geographical borders and how they refine our minds, borders of the queer body, and borders of our writing.
— Michaela McGuire, Artistic Director
Borders of the Queer Body
I see my work sitting in a tradition of queer lit. I hope it does, anyway. I read texts about homosocial relations in literature but also love queer genre work. I think lots about the way my body enacts its sexuality and performs its gender, I smell for this in the fiction that I read. In the queer world, we observe the acts of shade and not-so-subtle selfie game. We play out the dominant power structures while claiming oppression. On a panel where we all do queer writing, I hope that we can talk about bodies, communities and the writing we make to redefine or throw our own shade.
The Big Black Thing
SWEATSHOP are my people, my kin, the bastard leftovers and lovers of Australian Literature. Believe the hype, check out the talent. Come to this. New voices are rising. Be that person in ten years’ time that will say ‘Oh I saw Pham, Le, Dunn and Azam before anyone else knew who they were.'
Borders of Our Writing
The water around our island nation is no barrier to the links overseas. For some of us born here, those links are already inside us. We draw from them, find it in our work. It creates itself in our tones, turns of phrase and written gestures. We may write in English but there are a host of international influences already within our work and they need to be excavated and held up to the light.
'I think lots about the way my body enacts its sexuality and performs its gender...'
Maxine Beneba Clarke: The Hate Race
I met Maxine once. It was a brief hallway encounter a few years ago, and I remember her laughing at an inappropriate joke I made. She covered her mouth with her hand and looked at me shocked. There may have been a gasp. At SWF17, it will not only be the longest conversation that I have had with her but also done in public. I have read all her books and consider myself a fan. The questions that I ask her will come from this place of fandom. I also hope that this second meeting redeems me. Fingers crossed no one gasps this time.
Peter Polites: Down the Hume
Ronnie Scott has good blazer game and is too TV handsome to be a writer but founded Melbourne hipster lit rag The Lifted Brow anyway. Before I knew any of this I read some of his work in HEAT magazine – it was a subtle explosion for me. I think he will ask me questions about Down the Hume. I will probably have to block his face with various tomes of queer lit that go from Hollinghurst to Genet to avoid people (myself included) getting distracted by him.
— Peter Polites, Guest Curator