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Pillow Talk with Sophie Cunningham

Love. It stirs our creative spirits, brings us to our knees, inspires songs and sonnets and paintings and volumes.

In the spirit of this year’s Festival theme, When We Talk About Love, we’re asking authors and artists to share the passions that underpin their work. This week, we spoke with City of Trees author and co-founder of The Stella Prize Sophie Cunningham about fictional love interests, an appreciation of the elements and glowing wombats.


Q. Love is a complex, multi-layered thing. What kinds of love do you explore through your writing or art?

Love of all the things: animal, vegetable and mineral.

Q. What is the most beloved book in your bookshelf, and how did you fall for it?

I cannot be pinned down on this subject. I fell for BOOKS rather than a particular book.

Q. If love were an object, what would it be?

A granite rock.

Q. If love were a song, what would it be?

Fire and Rain.

Q. Pen us a haiku to your heart.

Grazing in moonlight
Two wombats glow, roam: beachside
The sea is rising

Q. Snog/Marry/Avoid, literary edition. Which three book characters would you choose, and why?

Snog: Edith Berry of the Edith Trilogy by Frank Moorhouse. Because she’s smart, adventurous, and knows she’s still sexy even when most people think she’s just an old woman.
Marry: Anil Tissera, the heroine of Michael Ondaatje’s, Anil’s Ghost. Because she’s courageous, committed, loyal, and needs support.
Avoid: Javo. Nora’s love interest in Monkey Grip by Helen Garner. I think the novel sets out pretty clearly why Javo is best avoided.

Find Sophie at this year’s Melbourne Writers Festival.