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Pillow Talk with Will Kostakis

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 chatted to YA author Will Kostakis about the heart-warming effect of a home-cooked meal, Star Wars love through song, and a haiku to a slowly-mending heart.


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

As a younger writer, I was concerned with familial and platonic love. It was a way to reflect (and reflect on) the intense bonds I built in my childhood and teens. The First Third focuses on the love within a small but potent Greek family, and The Sidekicks explores the love developing between three boys struggling with grief – both novels keep romantic love at arm’s length. Monuments is different. It’s a fantasy adventure starring a gay sixteen-year-old. He’s in the middle of his first ‘friend divorce’ and mending a broken heart. Romance heals him.

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

The Whole Business With Kiffo and the Pitbull by Barry Jonsberg. I was encouraged to read it by my school’s teacher librarian, and the voice was so striking and real, and the story so honest, that it instantly became a favourite. I’ve only grown fonder of it over time. When I tour the country, I share it with teen readers, and experiencing it through them makes it all the more special.

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

A home-cooked meal. I know it’s corny, but there’s something about returning to Mum’s or my grandmother’s and eating food they’ve prepared. It tastes like your childhood, and I’m assuming it tastes like theirs as well. There’s history in every recipe that’s been passed down.

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

John Williams’ ‘Across the Stars’. It’s the theme for Star Wars: Attack of the Clones, but don’t hold that against it. The Padmé/Anakin love story is sold by that score.

Q. Pen us a haiku to your heart.

Torn pieces stitched back,
Encouraged to heal slowly,
Scarred – beats hard, beats often.

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

Snog: Harris Derwent from Ellie Marney’s No Limits, a swoon-worthy guy who’d probably ruin your life if you did more than snog him.
Marry: Milo Dark from Gabrielle Tozer’s Remind Me How This Ends, despite the ominous name.
Avoid: Every Chuck Palahniuk protagonist. No comment needed.

Find Will at this year’s Melbourne Writers Festival.