Christos Slapping the Brits

Australian Booker nominee Christos Tsiolkas is cutting a swathe through Brit lit on his current visit to the UK with appearances at the Edinburgh International Book Festival.

Not only is The Slap a favourite to win the Booker this year it’s also the bestselling title according to The Bookseller with “sales [that] totalled 5,001 copies during the seven days to 7th August 2010”. Last year’s winner, Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel, has gone on to sell 485,000 copies to date, so a Tsiolkas win would mean mega-sales.

But it’s not all plain sailing. The Guardian called Tsiolkas' work “the most divisive book to have been chosen for the Man Booker longlist in years”. In the same article, Tsiolkas' defended a bolder approach to fiction: “In the English-language novel there is a fear of writing about the real world. I don’t read a lot of contemporary fiction that’s true to the world. I read to have my assumptions challenged, to be scared, to cry. That novel isn’t being written at the moment.”

The residency in Scotland has mostly been a chance for Tsiolkas to write and the environment has had an impact. The Guardian reports Tsiolkas taking inspiration from Glaswegians swimming in a freezing loch. Tsiolkas said: “My next novel will begin at Luss with an Aussie dipping his toe into the water of the loch and thinking, ‘Man, these people are crazy.’”

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