The Wheeler Centre
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Nation, Clan, Self: Paul Beatty, Susan Faludi and Ivan Coyote in Conversation
‘Is identity something you "choose," or is it the very thing you can't escape?’
In 2017, the personal has never been more political – and the political never more personal. Still, even as we obsessively unpack how to best define ourselves and others, a clear understanding of ‘identity’ can prove frustratingly elusive.
'Community’s not something you consume. It’s something that you build.'
There are few better placed to untangle our often divergent conceptions of identity than Paul Beatty, Susan Faludi and Ivan Coyote.
Paul Beatty’s bitingly funny work – including the satirical, Man Booker Prize-winning The Sellout – explores the complexities and contradictions of what it means to ‘be black’ in a ‘post-racial’ world.
Susan Faludi’s examinations of what it means to ‘be a woman’, meanwhile, have driven her to explore the shifting sands of gender inequality. Her latest work, In The Darkroom, explores the failure of existing transgender narratives to account for the complexity of her father’s late-in-life gender transition.
Transgender Canadian spoken word artist Ivan Coyote is well aware of how complicated gender-based conceptions of identity can be. The author and lead performer of Tomboy Survival Guide, Coyote’s books and performances are designed to guide their audience toward circumnavigating the gender binary ‘in seven thousand easy steps’.
What does it mean to write the self, or to write about nationhood – and how do we best fight to ensure others understand how we want to be seen? Host Jane Caro talks with three acclaimed international authors and artists whose work is driven by a challenge to interrogate how we move between categories, or are forced to inhabit them.