A recovering alcoholic prepares for important visitors. Underpaid slaughterhouse workers make a pittance packing meat through the night. And an act of kindness cuts through an ageing child-abuse survivor’s defences.
The Common People who feature in Tony Birch’s eponymous new short-story collection are precisely the kind of marginalised, ignored or forgotten characters that have preoccupied the Miles Franklin Award-shortlisted author, academic and poet throughout his impressive career to date.
Tony Birch will appear in conversation with Chris Flynn at the Wheeler Centre in November to discuss the short-story form, writing life into fiction and the characters and questions that matter to him.
Tony Birch is the author of three novels: the bestselling The White Girl, winner of the 2020 NSW Premier's Award for Indigenous Writing, and shortlisted for the 2020 Miles Franklin Literary Prize; Ghost River, winner of the 2016 Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for Indigenous Writing, and Blood, which was shortlisted for the Miles Franklin Award in 2012. He is also the author of Shadowboxing, and three short story collections – Father’s Day, The Promise and Common People.
In 2017 Tony was awarded the Patrick White Literary Award. In 2021 he will release two new books, a poetry collection, Whisper Songs, and a new short story collection, Dark as Last Night. Tony Birch is also an activist, historian and essayist.
Chris Flynn is the author of The Glass Kingdom and A Tiger in Eden, which was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Book Prize. His fiction and non-fiction have appeared in the Age, the Australian, Griffith Review, Meanjin, Australian Book Review, the Saturday Paper, Smith Journal, the Big Issue, Monster Children and many other publications. He has conducted interviews for the Paris Review and is a regular presenter at literary festivals across Australia. Chris lives on Phillip Island, next to a penguin sanctuary.