What does it mean, and what does it cost, to write about your own sexual or gender identity? How much do you keep to yourself? How do you broach taboos? What are the rules when it comes to telling your story – especially when it entwines with the stories of other people?
For this panel discussion, we’re bringing together Maria Katsonis, Nevo Zisin and Eddie Ayres. All three have written memoir, and all three have explored questions of gender and sexuality in their writing: from coming out to transitioning to queer romance to battling prejudice.
How do writers balance the interests of their own story with their responsibilities to family, friends and the broader queer community? What are the tensions between the personal and the political for queer non-fiction writers? Join these three fascinating writers at Clunes Booktown Festival as they talk true stories.
Maria Katsonis is a writer, public policy wonk and vocal mental health advocate. Her memoir, The Good Greek Girl (2015) recounts her experience of mental illness and recovery, set against her escape from a traditional Greek upbringing when she came out as gay. Described by The Age as 'loving and intelligent', it was published in the UK as The Mind Thief (2016).
Maria co-edited Rebellious Daughters (2016), an anthology of memoir by Australian female authors and also contributed to Letters of Love (2017), letters from the heart penned by prominent Australians. She now lives with an ongoing mental illness and is a beyondblue Ambassador.
Nevo Zisin is a 20-year-old activist, student, writer and public speaker with a particular focus on issues surrounding gender, sex and sexuality.
Assigned female at birth, Nevo has had a complex relationship with gender, transitioning as male, undergoing different medical interventions and now identifying outside of a female/male gender binary.
They work particularly with children as a youth leader and through running programs and workshops in schools. They are also a contact point in the Jewish community for other children and families confronting issues of gender and sexuality in their own lives. Finding Nevo is their first book.
Danger Music, Eddie's second book, was published in September 2017. He is currently writing a children's book which will be published in 2018. Cadence: Travels with Music, published in 2014, was his first book.
Eddie Ayres learnt the viola as a child in England, studying in Berlin and London before playing the viola for eight years with the Hong Kong Philharmonic. As Emma Ayres, she moved from Hong Kong to Australia to present a long-running and extremely popular radio program on ABC Classic FM, while teaching music privately and professionally.