Zevin stressed to the audience that the best thing you can do for yourself is to get more comfortable in the creative place that is failure: “To be hopeful or positive in this world, at least for me, takes great intellectual effort.”
“In the modern era, many people have come up with hare-brained ideas about how to change the world around us, and more recently, to ‘settle’ new planets. I don’t know if that’s viable. But I think it’s the stuff of science fiction, rather than reality.”
“Ask yourself if you’d want to write even if a ray of light came out of the sky and said, ‘Nothing you write will ever be published.’ If the answer is yes, you’re a writer.”
I just thought: “What would happen if you were the kind of woman who just was so curious to learn, but you were told that your job was to bind the books, not read them?” That’s how my book started.
“Asian Australians (and other racial minorities, for that matter), are then fed the idea that if we’re model citizens—if we’re successful, well-behaved, and grateful, then we’ll get to belong. But that’s not true, either.”
“As Australians, we’re all so accustomed to consuming culture about foreign places. I think reading stories set at home can be really powerful. It sort of gives us permission to think of our lives as worthy of artistic attention.”
Harper’s thrillers bridge the gap between commercial and literary because, in her own words, she is always asking of her characters: “What pressure are they under…what’s keeping them awake at night…what kind of family dynamic do they have?”
The beautiful absurdity of writers’ festivals.
James Bradley on the power of speculation in storytelling, for our Sydney Writers’ Festival coverage.
Battered and bruised, the pursuit for truth nonetheless lives on in modern day journalism.