Speculative Fiction Author Alex Landragin to feature at Bellingen Readers and Writers Festival

Mr Landragin appears on four panels at the upcoming Readers and Writers festival at Bellingen.


CULTURAL appropriation is a hot topic at the moment and one that is explored in author Alex Landragin’s book Crossings.

Alex will feature on four panels at this year’s Bellingen Readers and Writers Festival (BRWF) and spoke with me about the themes of the novel.

The speculative fiction work Crossings is about characters that can move across bodies into one another and Alex said sometimes there is a surreptitious, sly or playful aspect to the crossings.

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“So I found with that concept, the theme of empathy and being able to step into the shoes of other people and experiencing the endless variety of what it means to be human.

“Empathy is a really important part of what we need to do as humans and the book is exploring the darker side of empathy.

“The darker sides of empathy are around appropriation and at the moment we are in a period thinking a lot about cultural appropriation and a lot of times cultural appropriation occurs not because we are wanting to exploit people but to empathise with them.

“And following on from that is some of the guilt that can happen after that appropriation,” he said.

“The circumstances in which the book was conceived was a dark time and was as a result a redemptive project for me.”

Mr Landragin had the idea for the story when he was physically incapacitated after a motor bicycle accident.

The themes of limitations of mortality and the notion of escaping those limitations came from that time and manifested in the novel by being able to cross from one human to another.

The novel begins in 1791 on a fictional pacific island and finishes in 1940 in Paris as the Germans are invading.

Crossings has been published by Picador in Australia and St Martin’s Press in the United States.

The novel has been translated into Italian and Croatian, with further translations in Russian,Chinese and Bulgarian forthcoming.

To catch Mr Landragin at the BRWF grab your tickets online at bellingenwritersfestival.com.au.


By Sandra MOON

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