Michael Cunningham is the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of A Home at the End of the World, The Hours, Specimen Days and, most recently, By Nightfall. A master of lyrical, compassionate and powerful prose, Cunningham spoke with Malcolm Knox at the Wheeler Centre.
Subjects addressed in Cunningham and Knox’s hour-long conversation include Cunningham’s ‘normal’ upbringing, his disciplined writing process, the cinematic adaptation of The Hours and whether he’d consider writing science fiction. He reflects on his encounter with Gail Dines on ABC TV’s Q&A program, and notes Australia’s balance between ‘a kind of gravitas and a good joke… that’s hard to find in a lot of places’.
Also discussed are the 80s/90s AIDS epidemic (and his role as an activist) — Cunningham even shares his tips for slowing one’s arrest — and the question of what obligations gay artists have to reflect their sexuality in their work.
Michael Cunningham appeared in Australia as a guest of the Wheeler Centre and the Sydney Writers' Festival.
Malcolm Knox is the author of Summerland, A Private Man and Jamaica, which was shortlisted for the Prime Minister’s Award last year and won the Colin Roderick Award. He is also a Walkley Award-winning journalist and author of many non-fiction titles, including Supermarket Monsters: The Price of Coles and Woolworths' Dominance.
Michael Cunningham was raised in Los Angeles and now lives in New York. He is the author of four novels, including A Home at the End of the World (1990), Flesh and Blood (1995) and Specimen Days (2005). He won the Pulitzer Prize for The Hours in 1999 which was adapted for the screen and released as a movie starring Nicole Kidman as Virginia Woolf, for which she won an Oscar.