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May 23rd, 2016
Episode 877 of 923 episodes
Hear from Hanya Yanagihara – a writer whose fictional worlds hold readers in thrall, long after the final page – in conversation with Jason Steger about art, extremity and the language of friendship. Jason Steger and Hanya Yanagihara –on stage at Melbourne's Athenaeum Theatre, for the Wheeler Centre — Photo: Jon Tjhia Over the course of two very different novels, Hanya Yanagihara has established herself as a formidable and versatile new literary voice. Her debut, 2013’sThe People in the Trees, had Yanagihara leading readers to a fictional Micronesian island nation, and to a turtle with life-giving flesh, weaving a magical premise into an examination of moral failure and ecological abuse. ‘How much monstrousness are you allowed to get away with in the name of art? I think this book says: not much.’ Hanya Yanagihara Then, there was last year’s critically celebratedA Little Life–the Man Booker and National Book Award shortlisted novel that oneNew Yorkercritic warned could ‘drive you mad, consume you, and take over your life’. That book, at turns harrowing and heartening, performed a complex balancing act: offering both a tribute to male adult friendship and a deep consideration of the toll of childhood trauma across many years. Yanagihara’s linguistic versatility extends beyond the confines of the novel – she’s also a travel writer, and deputy editor of theNew York Times’ style magazine,T. Of writingA Little Life, Yanagihara has said that the novel became ‘more real than life itself. That process … is absorbing and dangerous.’ What’d you think? More to say? Talk it out with the Wheeler Centre community. All messages as part of this discussion and any opinions, advice, statements, or other information contained in any messages or transmitted by any third party are the responsibility of the author of that message and not the Wheeler Centre.