Perth Writers Festival Blog

10 Questions with Gregory Day

Monday 11 January 2016

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year from everyone at PIAF! We are all very excited as there are only a few sleeps left until the launch of the Perth Writers Festival on Wednesday 13 January.

2016 will see some fantastic authors descend upon our shores and there are also some special ‘Festival-first’ events that are a must for your 2016 calendar. Make sure you stay tuned to our blog and sign up for our fortnightly e-news so that you can keep up-to-date with everything that 2016 has to offer.

Fine-tuning: Connections Between Literature and Music

Returning to the Perth Writers Festival in 2016 is our Fine-tuning series, which explores connections between music and literature. Author, poet and musician, Gregory Day, joins curator, Jae Laffer (The Panics), to share some of his musical influences and literary inspirations.

Author Profile – Gregory Day

Gregory Day is a renowned author whose debut novel, The Patron Saint of Eels, won the prestigious Australian Literature Society Gold Medal in 2006 and was also shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for best first  book. His second novel, Ron McCoy’s Sea of Diamonds, was shortlisted for the 2008 NSW Premier’s Prize for fiction, and The Grand Hotel was chosen by the Herald Sun as the Best Australian Novel of 2010. In 2011, Day’s story, The Neighbour’s Beans, was the joint winner of the inaugural Elizabeth Jolley Short Story Prize.

Day joins us in 2016 to discuss his new novel, Archipelago of Souls. Five years in the writing, with a much longer genesis, it is a novel exploring the difficult realities of nationhood, war, weather, morality and love. Compelling and beautifully realised, it is about the enigmas of memory, the creation of identity and the power of the written word to heal the deepest wounds.

Don’t miss the opportunity over the Perth Writers Festival weekend to hear Day speak about his new book and perform live as part of the Fine-tuning series.  All details of the events he is participating in will be released on Wednesday 13 January 2016 so watch this space.

Ahead of the Festival, we asked Day to answer a few questions:

10 Questions with Gregory Day

1. What was the last book you read and loved?    

Romantic Moderns by Alexandra Harris

2. Favourite literary hero and heroine?    

Albert Camus, Christina Stead.

3. Why do you write?  

I think that’s a mystery really. But I could say – to seek a better balance in the world by sharing some deep news of the life around me. To feel the aesthetic rush of pleasure that certain combinations of words and meanings give you. And because, like a child, I like to show and tell.

4. What is the most profound question you’ve been asked about your work?

Whether or not it proves the existence of the gods. 

5. What do you do when you get creatively stuck?

Head for the heath and wattle.

6. What’s the best advice an editor or publisher has ever given you?    

Avoid creative writing schools.

7. You’re hosting a dinner with three writers – who’s invited?

Albert Camus, WB Yeats, Joseph Furphy. 

8. What is your favourite word and why? 

So many. Archipelago is up there. It sounds beautiful, brings a big picture to my eye and has a deeply stratified etymology.

9. Where do you feel most at home?

At home in Mangowak. 

10. What are you working on now? What is your next project?  

An artist book about selfies and narcissism with engraver Jiri Tibor Novak. 


January is the season of lists and the perfect month to plan your reading for the year. We were delighted to see some of our 2016 Festival guests’ novels feature in several articles as picks for the year ahead. Stephen Romei’s article, published in The Australian last weekend, mentioned Fiona McFarlane’s The High Place, Martin McKenzie-Murray’s A Murder Without Motive and Virginia Reeves’ debut, Work Like Any Other, as books to look out for in 2016. Make sure you add these titles to your reading list and hear the authors speak at the Perth Writers Festival.

Word of the Week

Congratulations to this week’s Twitter competition winner! After our interview with Catherine Lacey, we asked readers to tweet the three literary figures they would invite to dinner. @pedritpab1231, we thought your choice of F Scott Fitzgerald, Lauren Groff and Karen Russell would make for some interesting dinner conversation. Our latest competition will close on Friday 15 January 2016 – for your chance to win a pack of three Festival books, don’t forget to tell us the title of your summer reading pick and why you’ve chosen it. Head to our Twitter page and use the @perthfest handle and the #pwf16 hashtag.‏