Masters Series: Christos Tsiolkas Part One & Two

Christos Tsiolkas is a novelist, playwright, essayist and screen writer and in 2021 was awarded the Melbourne Prize for Literature honouring his “outstanding contribution to Australian literature and to cultural and intellectual life”. His seven novels include his debut, Loaded, which was made into the feature film Head-On, The Jesus Man and Dead Europe, which won the 2006 Age Fiction Prize and the 2006 Melbourne Best Writing Award. He won Overall Best Book in the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize 2009, was shortlisted for the 2009 Miles Franklin Literary Award, longlisted for the 2010 Man Booker Prize and won the Australian Literary Society Gold Medal for his novel, The Slap, which was also announced as the 2009 Australian Booksellers Association and Australian Book Industry Awards Books of the Year. Barracuda was published here and in the UK to rave reviews in late 2013 and became an instant bestseller. His most recent novels are Damascus and 71/2. He lives in Melbourne with his partner, Wayne.

During Part One this conversation, Christos mentions:

  • his early love of reading and cinema
  • the gift of book loving from his parents
  • Favourite early reads: Enid Blyton, Phantom Toll Both, Wrinkle In time, CS Lewis Narnia Chronicles
  • ‘I wanna know how this is working’ – Carson McCuller’s The Heart is a Lonely Hunter
  • Opening Loaded with a quote from Mexican-American writer Richard Rodriguez
  • In Pharaoh’s Army – Tobias Wolff
  • The place of fortune in his life.
  • The encouragement of high school teachers
  • Influence of George Papaellinas – Homeland
  • Mentoring from Sasha Soldatow
  • Building trust over a twenty year editing relationship (and friendship) with Jane Palfreyman

During Part Two of this conversation Christos discusses:


  • ‘Don’t be a dick’ (Christos thanks his niece for this gem), be human to the whole world around you (not just your fellow writers, it’s the volunteers at festivals, the people in the office at your publishers)
  • ‘You can’t look over every reader’s shoulder’
  • Join your state writing centre

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