Man Booker Prize winner Paul Beatty (The Sellout) once said: ‘I wish I could say race is a construct … it’s all in our mind. But while there’s some truth to that, in the real world it’s just not the case.’ He joins celebrated writers – Anuk Arudpragasam (The Story of a Brief Marriage), and guest curator Ellen van Neerven (Comfort Food) – to discuss race in today’s literary and cultural landscape, with Roanna Gonsalves (The Permanent Resident) as moderator.

Supported by The Copyright Agency.

Curated by Ellen van Neervan. 

Please note: due to unforeseen circumstances, Maxine Beneba Clarke will no longer be appearing at this event. 

Paul Beatty (International)

In 2016 Paul Beatty became the first American to be awarded the Man Booker Prize. His winning book, The Sellout, also won the National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction. The darkly comic novel chronicles an urban farmer who tries to spearhead a revitalisation of slavery and segregation in a fictional Los Angeles neighbourhood. Beatty began his career as a poet before turning his hand to fiction with White Boy Shuffle, followed by Tuff and Slumberland. He is also the editor of Hokum, an anthology of African-American humour.

Anuk Arudpragasam (International)

Anuk Arudpragasam is from Colombo, Sri Lanka and currently lives in New York, where he is completing a doctorate in philosophy at Columbia University. His first novel, The Story of a Brief Marriage, is a meditation on trauma and silence and takes place over the course of a few hours in a displaced person's camp during the final days of the Sri Lankan Civil War. Described as 'an act of sustained empathy' by The New Yorker, it was named one of the Best Ten Novels of 2016 by The Wall Street Journal. Anuk writes in English and Tamil.

Ellen van Neerven (Australian)

Ellen van Neerven is a Yugambeh woman from South East Queensland. She is the author of Comfort Food and Heat and Light which won the 2013 David Unaipon Award, the 2015 Dobbie Award and the 2016 NSW Premiers Literary Awards Indigenous Writer's Prize.