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Sophie Cunningham: This Devastating Fever

I do think that writing should be fun, and there’s something very serious about some novels. They should be fun to read and fun to do, otherwise I’m not quite sure what the point is? I don’t mean it can’t be serious, but the process of creation itself – it’s not torture and it’s not like sitting an exam and getting it exactly right, or it shouldn’t feel like that.” – Sophie Cunningham

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Sophie Cunningham is one of Australian literature’s most influential figures. She is the author of seven books, a former editor of Meanjin, co-founder of the Stella Prize, and is currently an adjunct professor at RMIT University’s non/fiction Lab.

Her novel This Devastating Fever, her first work of fiction in fourteen years, was the Melbourne City Reads pick for September 2022. Weaving together the life of Leonard Woolf, the turn of the millennium and environmental collapse, Cunningham examines questions about colonial history, the return of fascism, living through disaster and what it means to cultivate a full, loving and creative life.

Join Cunningham and host Emily Bitto for an intimate conversation as they discuss this exhilarating new novel.

This event was recorded on Tuesday 22 September 2022.

The Melbourne City Reads series is generously supported by George and Rosa Morstyn.

The bookseller for this event was The Paperback Bookshop.

Featured music is Golden Hour by Sarah, the Illstrumentalist.

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