The controversial Jonathan Franzen will be in conversation with Geordie Williamson, chief literary critic for The Australian, as part of Sydney Writers’ Festival.
Jonathan Franzen is a controversial figure. His supremely contemptous essay, 'Perchance to Dream', lamenting the state of contemporary literature, is still a conversation starter fifteen years after it was published in Harper’s. He famously ticked off Oprah after he failed to be sufficiently thrilled that The Corrections was part of her Book Club selection, and he wrote that beautiful book of essays, How To Be Alone. His most recent novel, Freedom, was published to considerable critical acclaim, then recalled, as an early draft rather than the final proof had somehow made it to the printers.
What Franzen excels at is sweeping satirical family dramas that, nonetheless, are funny enough to function as a fictive form of popular anti-depressants. The critic James Wood coined a term for his subgenre: hysterical realism. Franzen’s books are warmly peopled, and sprout stories and sub-stories on every page. His defining dread of a bookless dark, and his disdain for muted or insipid novels, found him recently featured on the cover of Time magazine – the first author deemed interesting enough to grace it since Stephen King in 2000.
Franzen will be in conversation with Geordie Williamson, chief literary critic for The Australian, as part of a co-presentation with the Sydney Writers’ Festival. He and Williamson will discuss his literary influences, the direction of American tastes, and the death of the great social novel. Come to celebrate being a reader or a writer, and summon up your courage for audience Q&A.
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Arts & Entertainment
Friday, June 11 - Saturday, July 10
Drama Theatre, Sydney Opera House