The Wheeler Centre
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Double Booked Club: Peter Polites and Christos Tsiolkas
For our last Double Booked Club of the year, Christos Tsiolkas was joined by Peter Polites.
Tsiolkas is the internationally acclaimed author of The Slap, Barracuda and Dead Europe. He's also a celebrated playwright, critic and short-story writer. His new novel, Damascus, is perhaps his most ambitious work yet, based on the gospel and letters of St Paul and concerned with the early days of the Christian church.
Peter Polites is among the most exciting new satirical voices in contemporary Australian literature. Hailing from western Sydney – a hotbed of provocative literary voices in recent years – Polites won praise for his 2017 neo-noir novel, Down the Hume. The book was shortlisted for the New South Wales Premier’s Literary Awards. His new novel, The Pillars, is about suburban aspiration and consumerism.
Both Tsiolkas and Polites are writers of Greek descent and both are animated by questions of class, sexuality and community. At this lunchtime session, hosted by Maxine Beneba Clarke, they discuss these themes and their latest work.
Peter Polites is a writer of Greek descent from Western Sydney. As part of the SWEATSHOP writers collective, Peter has written and performed pieces all over Australia. His first novel, Down the Hume, was shortlisted for a NSW Premier's Literary Award in 2017. The Pillars is his second novel.
Christos Tsiolkas is the author of six novels, including Loaded, which was made into the feature film Head-On, The Jesus Man and Dead Europe, which won the 2006 Age Fiction Prize and the 2006 Melbourne Best Writing Award, as well as being made into a feature film. His fourth novel, the international bestseller 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 and won the Australian Literary Society Gold, as well as the 2009 Australian Booksellers Association and Australian Book Industry Awards Books of the Year. Christos's fifth novel Barracuda was shortlisted for the ALS Gold Medal and the inaugural Voss Literary Prize. The Slap and Barracuda were both adapted into celebrated television series. His latest novel, Damascus, won the 2020 Prize for Fiction at the Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards.
Christos's acclaimed collection of short stories, Merciless Gods, was published in 2014 and his critical literary study On Patrick White came out in 2018. He is also a playwright, essayist and screen writer. He lives in Melbourne.
Maxine Beneba Clarke is a widely published Australian writer of Afro-Caribbean descent. Maxine's short fiction, non-fiction and poetry have been published in numerous publications including Overland, the Age, Meanjin, the Saturday Paper and the Big Issue. Her critically acclaimed short fiction collection Foreign Soil won the ABIA for Literary Fiction Book of the Year 2015 and the 2015 Indie Book Award for Debut Fiction, and was shortlisted for the Matt Richell Award for New Writing at the 2015 ABIAs and the 2015 Stella Prize. She was also named as one of the Sydney Morning Herald's Best Young Novelists for 2015.