Sex, desire and nature in Aussie fiction


Award winning author Carrie Tiffany will share her views about sex, desire and nature in Australian fiction

Novelist Carrie Tiffany Ms Tiffany has spoken with Kerryn Goldsworthy on Tuesday 13 August at La Trobe University’s influential Ideas & Society Program.

Kerryn Goldsworthy is Chair of the Stella Prize judging panel, the author of Adelaide in the ‘Cities’ series of New South books and 2013 Australian Critic of the Year.

Carrie Tiffany read from her wonderful prize-winning novel, Mateship with Birds, and will talked about her method of making fiction from fragments of different texts.

She discussed sex, desire and loneliness in Mateship with Birds, which won her the inaugural $50,000 Stella Prize for Australian women’s writing.

Mateship with Birds, set in country Victoria in the 1950s, follows the fortunes of two people whose loneliness is offset by the many active strands of their daily lives: Harry, a farmer whose wife has left him for somebody else; and Betty, an aged-care nurse whose two children have no visible father

According to Helen Elliott (The Age) Carrie Tiffany's novel, Mateship with Birds ‘...might just be the sweetest book about sex you will ever read... It has, most unusually, a subterranean vitality that enables her (Tiffany) to write of the natural world in a thrilling way. This natural world is her real subject and sex is a major part of that world.’

Carrie Tiffany is a postgraduate student with La Trobe University. She is a former park ranger who now works as an agricultural journalist. She made headlines, not only for becoming the first ever winner of the Stella Prize but also for re-awarding one-fifth of the prize money to the five other women shortlisted.

Her first novel, Everyman’s Rules for Scientific Living, was shortlisted for the Miles Franklin Literary Award, among others, and was the winner of the Dobbie Literary Award and the Western Australian Premier’s Fiction Prize. 

Her second novel Mateship with Birds (2012) was shortlisted for the Victorian Premier's Literary Award, Prime Minister's Prize for Fiction, Melbourne Prize for Fiction, Miles Franklin Literary Award, Encore Prize (UK) and was also winner of the Christina Stead Prize for Fiction.

The seminal Ideas & Society Program is convened by Professor Robert Manne, Vice Chancellor’s Fellow at La Trobe University.

Webcast: A webcast will also be available for download from Ideas and Society following the seminar.

Media inquiries: Penny Underwood on (03) 9818 8540 or