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Nation, Clan, Self: Paul Beatty, Susan Faludi and Ivan Coyote in Conversation


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‘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.

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? Join 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.

This event will be Auslan interpreted.


Susan Faludi

Susan Faludi is a Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist and the author of the bestselling Backlash: The Undeclared War Against American Women, which won the National Book Critics Circle Award for Nonfiction, Stiffed: The Betrayal of the American Man, and The Terror Dream: Myth and Misogyny in an Insecur... Read more

Paul Beatty

Paul Beatty is the author of three novels – Slumberland, Tuff and The White Boy Shuffle – and two books of poetry: Big Bank Take Little Bank and Joker, Joker, Deuce. He is the editor of Hokum: An Anthology of African-American Humor. He lives in New York City. Named as one of the best books of th... Read more

Ivan Coyote

Ivan Coyote is the award-winning author of 11 books, the creator of four short films, and has released three albums that combine storytelling with music. Ivan is a seasoned stage performer and long-time road dog, and over the last two decades has become an audience favourite at storytelling, writer&... Read more

Jane Caro

Jane Caro AM is a Walkley Award-winning Australian columnist, author, novelist, broadcaster, advertising writer, documentary maker, feminist and social commentator. Jane appears frequently on Q&A, The Drum and Sunrise. She has created and presented five documentary series for ABC’s Compass... Read more


Melbourne City Conference Centre

190 Little Lonsdale St, Melbourne Victoria 3000

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