Reading Australian Literature 2017
A Sydney Ideas talk co-presented with the School of Literature, Art, and Media at the University of Sydney
Reading Australian Literature is a series in which acclaimed Australian writers reflect on books they value. In a thoughtful and engaging public lecture, each writer will discuss a favourite Australian literary text. What has led them to these books? What do they find remarkable about them? Have these literary encounters left an imprint on the speakers’ own writing?
Fiona Wright on The Cook by Wayne Macauley
"I’ve chosen to speak about Wayne Macauley’s The Cook in part because I think it deserves more attention than it received when it was released – aside from the beautifully strange honour of winning the ‘Most Underrated Book Award’, it largely flew under the radar of the literary pages. But it’s a wonderful book: blackly funny and devastatingly sharp in its critique of foodie culture, but also tragic by turns, all the more so because it’s really a satire about class – that most taboo of topics in Australia’s supposedly classless society – and about aspiration, and the way these things entrap us all."
Fiona Wright’s book of essays Small Acts of Disappearance won the 2016 Kibble Award and the Queensland Literary Award for non-fiction, and was shortlisted for the Stella Prize and the NSW Premier’s Prize for non-fiction. Her poetry collection, Knuckled, won the 2012 Dame Mary Gilmore Award. She has recently completed a PhD at Western Sydney University’s Writing & Society Research Centre.