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books April 4, 2020

Ronnie Scott on the ties that bind

In his debut novel, The Adversary, Ronnie Scott explores the intense friendships and social rituals of young gay men. Here, he talks about trying to read the unspoken intentions of others, and the unintended consequences of our everyday behaviour. “Of course, it makes sense that people would want to decode others,” Scott says. “Hitching your fate to another person or letting someone into a really private part of your life … is an act of trust.”

comedy March 28, 2020

MICF director Susan Provan on shutting down the show

Susan Provan has been director of the Melbourne International Comedy Festival for 27 years, taking it from strength to strength. So, the decision to cancel this year’s event – for the first time in its history – was no laughing matter. “We were in a position where we had to move quickly. We were literally building venues. We needed to minimise the fallout.”

books March 21, 2020

Author and activist Naomi Klein

Author and activist Naomi Klein has long been a critic of consumer culture and its focus on individualism, arguing instead that we need to band together to deal with the world’s crises. “The tricky thing is that we are able to find our best selves in these moments of crisis, of high crisis, but within our economic system, the pressures of the market bear down pretty fast.”

dance March 14, 2020

The Australian Ballet’s Alice Topp

As a homesick teenager from Bendigo, Alice Topp dreamed of dancing with The Australian Ballet. Now she is also a resident choreographer with the company, and only the second woman to hold the title. She speaks about the creative collaboration of her latest work, Logos. “We are in a vulnerable space together, and it’s a safe space and we’re free to have our own voice and it’s a really special journey for me. I can’t imagine creating any other way.”

books March 7, 2020

Astrophysicist Jo Dunkley

As one of the world’s leading astrophysicists, Professor Jo Dunkley has researched both the mass of the tiniest particle and the size of the universe. Here, she speaks about the thrill of discovery and the untold stories of women in science. “I started off being intent on just writing about the science, but then I realised the stories of the scientists would be just as interesting. Now I’m fascinated about all the people that must be out there who have never been credited.”

dance February 29, 2020

Bhenji Ra goes vogue

Community has always been important to dancer and artist Bhenji Ra, who found solidarity in New York’s ballroom culture. In the wake of this summer’s devastating bushfires, she turned her focus back home, to the NSW south coast community that supported her to pursue her dreams. “It was the most incredible New Year’s Eve I’ve had. I’d never felt so intimate with my family. We were all there together – except for my older sister, who lives in Los Angeles – and with our community as well.”

television February 22, 2020

Actress Cate Blanchett

As a co-creator of the new ABC series Stateless, Cate Blanchett hopes to challenge Australian attitudes towards asylum seekers, particularly as the climate crisis threatens to displace many more people. “The rhetoric of protection and the language has separated Australians from their humanity, and encouraged the public through a lack of transparency in information to tolerate or ignore human rights abuses that are going on offshore.”

television February 15, 2020

The likeable Josh Thomas

After charming both critics and viewers with Please Like Me, Josh Thomas made the move to Los Angeles. He speaks about the series he made in his new city, Everything’s Gonna Be Okay – a show that breaks ground in its portrayal of young autistic women. “I think having teenage girls in a show forces you into sweeter territory. The conceit of the show is so sweet, so I guess the story and the characters and the situation kinda made that decision for me.”

film February 8, 2020

Actress Tilda Swinton

Tilda Swinton has often been drawn to roles that explore transformation – a fascination that led her to become one of the world’s finest actresses. She speaks about her unconventional career, her love for Scotland and her upcoming trip to Australia, where her mother was born. “For me, the whole joy is working in collaboration, working in conversation … I love dreaming things up with my friends and I’ve always been lucky enough to work with people who are interested in this stuff and continue to find new people who are interested in this sort of shapeshifting.”

music February 1, 2020

Vampire Weekend’s Ezra Koenig

After a six-year hiatus, Ezra Koenig’s band Vampire Weekend won a 2020 Grammy for their latest album, Father of the Bride. He reflects on the changing landscape of the music industry and how he handles his new-found fame. “We have a deep connection with a certain group of people, and we’ve grown it a little bit, but at a very sustainable rate.”

books January 25, 2020

Writer Alice Pung

More than a decade after her best-selling debut, Unpolished Gem, Alice Pung remains one of Australia’s most beloved authors for her gentle yet forthright prose. She speaks about racism, role models and motherhood. “As a writer, I don’t know if you can really see from another person’s perspective … It is important to try and put yourself in someone else’s shoes, but I’ve realised in the last five years you can never really do it.”