AustLit logo
image of person or book cover 4979013180980836960.png
Image by permission of the National Library of Australia:
Christos Tsiolkas Christos Tsiolkas i(A15508 works by)
Born: Established: 1965 Melbourne, Victoria, ;
Gender: Male
Heritage: Greek
The material on this page is available to AustLit subscribers. If you are a subscriber or are from a subscribing organisation, please log in to gain full access. To explore options for subscribing to this unique teaching, research, and publishing resource for Australian culture and storytelling, please contact us or find out more.

Works By

Preview all
1 Watershed : The Death of Dr Duncan Alana Valentine , Christos Tsiolkas , Joseph Twist (composer), 2022 single work musical theatre opera

'Fusing inquest transcripts, press clippings, private correspondence, real and imagined monologues spanning five decades of anti-gay violence, and 30 years of research by local historian Tim Reeves, this joint commission between Adelaide Festival, Feast Festival and State Opera South Australia demands the embrace of all thinking audiences, but is of special importance to this city.'

Source: State Opera South Australia.

1 Resentment Christos Tsiolkas , 2021 single work essay
— Appears in: Meanjin Online 2021; Meanjin , Summer vol. 80 no. 4 2021;

'Recently, during Victoria’s spirit-wearying sixth lockdown, I experienced resentment. As occurs when undergoing an emotional sensation, I was not immediately conscious of what I was feeling. I was aware first of the physical manifestations: a shortness of breath, an almost demonic rush of agitation, an acrid bile in my throat and on my tongue. I was reacting to an article in the newspaper, which I had read when I first logged on to the computer that morning, perusing the headlines on the web copy of the Age. Health professionals were explaining that they were sitting on stockpiles of the AstraZeneca vaccine. Those stocks were in danger of becoming out of date and useless because people were demanding the Pfizer vaccine.'  (Introduction)

1 Depths of Sorrow Christos Tsiolkas , 2021 single work review
— Appears in: The Saturday Paper , 9-15 October 2021;

— Review of Nitram Shaun Grant , 2021 single work film/TV
'Scrupulously avoiding exploitation, Justin Kurzel’s Nitram allows space for the aspects of violence that escape comprehension. By Christos Tsiolkas.'
1 form y separately published work icon Little Tornadoes Christos Tsiolkas , Aaron Wilson , ( dir. Aaron Wilson ) Australia : Left-Handed Productions Avenue Road Productions Little Tornadoes Films , 2021 23285347 2021 single work film/TV

'A newly single father struggles to weather the turbulence of change, in his life and in the world around him. Set in 1971 rural Australia, it is portrait of a country at a turning point and the human desire for connection.'

Source: Production blurb.

1 4 y separately published work icon Seven and a Half 7 1/2 Christos Tsiolkas , Crows Nest : Allen and Unwin , 2021 22585817 2021 single work novel

'An audacious and transformative novel about the past, the present and the power of writing and imagination from the award-winning author of Damascus and The Slap.

'Art is not only about rage and justice and politics. It is also about pleasure and joy; it is also about beauty
In a time of rage and confusion, I wanted to write about beauty.
-Christos Tsiolkas

'A man arrives at a house on the coast to write a book. Separated from his lover and family and friends, he finds the solitude he craves in the pyrotechnic beauty of nature, just as the world he has shut out is experiencing a cataclysmic shift. The preoccupations that have galvanised him and his work fall away, and he becomes lost in memory and beauty …

'He also begins to tell us a story …

'A retired porn star is made an offer he can't refuse for the sake of his family and future. So he returns to the world he fled years before, all too aware of the danger of opening the door to past temptations and long-buried desires. Can he resist the oblivion and bliss they promise?

'A breathtakingly audacious novel by the acclaimed author of The Slap and Damascus about finding joy and beauty in a raging and punitive world, about the refractions of memory and time and, most subversive of all, about the mystery of art and its creation.' (Publication summary) 

1 y separately published work icon Live Recording : Chris Flynn on Mammoth Christos Tsiolkas (interviewer), Melbourne : Readings , 2020 23470490 2020 single work podcast interview

'Chris Flynn chats with fellow author Christos Tsiolkas about his new novel, Mammoth. This is a live recording of an online event hosted via Zoom during the Covid-19 crisis.' (Production summary) 

1 A Year Without Cinema Christos Tsiolkas , 2020 single work column
— Appears in: The Saturday Paper , 19 December - 22 January 2020;

'In 2020 we mostly had to watch films at home, and the most exciting possibilities still emerged from independent cinema. By Christos Tsiolkas.' 

1 The Ghosts Are Taking Their Revenge Christos Tsiolkas , 2020 single work column
— Appears in: The Weekend Australian , 15 August 2020; (p. 14)

'Christos Tsiolkas , the son of Greek migrants, explains his loss of faith in Europe'

1 In the Staggering Dislocation of 2020, I Think of the Many Gifts My Parents Gave Me Christos Tsiolkas , 2020 single work column
— Appears in: The Guardian Australia , 26 July 2020;

'For most Australians, two events of biblical solemnity will define this year: fire and plague. How should we respond?' 

1 Class, Identity, Justice : Reckoning with the Ghosts of Europe Christos Tsiolkas , 2020 single work essay
— Appears in: Griffith Review , no. 69 2020; (p. 17-27)
'The image is strong and striking. It is of a young woman; her face unsmiling, her gaze proud and ever so lightly mocking — as if she knows that you are ascending the stain to a contemporary art gallery and that you are both wishing to find works there that will confront you with the new and the audacious, while at the same time you are smugly confident that nothing you will see or experience will thrill you or astonish you. 'Astonish me,' Sergei Diaghilev demanded of the young Jean Cocteau. On this day in the European spring of 2019, climbing the steps of the Museum of Contemporary Art in New Zagreb and entering the exhibition space, you start off jaded; but you are astonished; and you are shocked. And you are shamed. The defiant young girl, her image in black and white, across a canvas that is over four metres tall and two metres wide, is staring down at you. Across her image is scrawled an ugly, misspelt graffiti. ' (Introduction)
1 [Review Essay] Undertow Christos Tsiolkas , 2020 single work essay
— Appears in: The Saturday Paper , 7-13 March 2020;

'Miranda Nation’s directorial debut, Undertow, begins with power, promise and tension, but it ends up drowning in its own contradictory styles. By Christos Tsiolkas.' 

1 2 Loaded Dan Giovannoni , Christos Tsiolkas , 2020 single work drama

'The 1995 debut novel from Christos Tsiolkas (The Slap, Dead EuropeBarracuda) makes its mainstage premiere 25 years after the fact.

'Ari (Roy Joseph, Five Bedrooms) is 19, unemployed and aimless. He doesn’t want to be gay. He doesn’t want to be Greek. He doesn’t want to be anything. He finds an escape, of sorts, via sex, drugs and dance clubs. But, he doesn’t really fit in with the queens at The Peel any better than with family in his theía’s backyard.

'This is the story that established Tsiolkas as a provocative master of the written word. Adapted for film in the 1998 underground hit Head On, and now, in close collaboration with playwright Dan Giovannoni, Tsiolkas rewrites Ari’s odyssey for the stage with a 21st century perspective.'

Source: Matlhouse Theatre.

1 1 The Audition Christos Tsiolkas , Melissa Reeves , Milad Norouzi , Patricia Cornelius , Sahra Davoudi , Tes Lyssiotis , Wahibe Moussa , 2019 single work drama

'The Audition is a new multi-authored work that interrogates the protocols and power relationships of the audition process to uncover what it means to seek asylum. 

'The asylum seeker shares something in common with the actor in Australia.  They are both outsiders of uncertain status.  The asylum seeker just like the actor can become expert at being patient with a force that keeps them waiting without having their hopes dashed.  This is the liminal space that we will explore in The Audition. The stage is a country in itself. With its own rules and regulations. Or lack of them.'

Source: La Mama Theatre.

1 2 Anthem Andrew Bovell , Patricia Cornelius , Melissa Reeves , Christos Tsiolkas , Irine Vela , 2019 single work drama

'Twenty-one years ago playwrights Andrew Bovell, Christos Tsiolkas, Melissa Reeves, Patricia Cornelius and Irine Vela came together to create Who’s Afraid of the Working Class?, a series of powerful interwoven vignettes that captured the zeitgeist of Melbourne and Australia in the 1990s. Now the same team reunite to take the pulse of our nation today, with director Susie Dee and an extraordinary ensemble of performers.

'What emerges is a funny and ferocious portrait of a country unable to reconcile its past, uncertain of its future and political vision. The colliding voices that make up this anthem might not always be in harmony, but they cannot be silenced.

'Who’s Afraid of the Working Class? was an ode to tiny struggles writ large; Anthem turns up the volume on the everyday injustices we choose not to hear.'

Source: Publisher's blurb.

1 Laura Nyro at the Wedding Christos Tsiolkas , 2019 single work short story young adult
— Appears in: Kindred : 12 Queer #LoveOzYA Stories 2019; (p. 240-287)
Christos Tsiolkas’ ‘Laura Nyro at the Wedding’ is a story about a same-sex couple in their thirties who make the decision to get married. Things become tense when one decides to invite their estranged father, who has a complicated and criminal past. (Summary)
1 14 y separately published work icon Damascus Christos Tsiolkas , Crows Nest : Allen and Unwin , 2019 17060761 2019 single work novel historical fiction

'They kill us, they crucify us, they throw us to beasts in the arena, they sew our lips together and watch us starve. They bugger children in front of fathers and violate men before the eyes of their wives. The temple priests flay us openly in the streets and the Judeans stone us. We are hunted everywhere and we are hunted by everyone. We are despised, yet we grow. We are tortured and crucified and yet we flourish. We are hated and still we multiply. Why is that? You must wonder, how is it we survive?

'Christos Tsiolkas' stunning new novel Damascus is a work of soaring ambition and achievement, of immense power and epic scope, taking as its subject nothing less than events surrounding the birth and establishment of the Christian church. Based around the gospels and letters of St Paul, and focusing on characters one and two generations on from the death of Christ, as well as Paul (Saul) himself, Damascus nevertheless explores the themes that have always obsessed Tsiolkas as a writer: class, religion, masculinity, patriarchy, colonisation, refugees; the ways in which nations, societies, communities, families and individuals are united and divided—it's all here, the contemporary and urgent questions, perennial concerns made vivid and visceral.'

Source: Publisher's blurb.

1 The Man Who Loves... Christos Tsiolkas , 2019 single work review
— Appears in: Arena Magazine , April no. 159 2019; (p. 54-55)

'I have a suggestion. When you start reading Reason & Lovelessness, a new collection of Barry Hill’s essays, critical writings and reviews, don’t start with the introduction. Tom Griffiths’ foreword is thoughtful, expertly written and genuinely illuminating, but there is the faint archness of the academe in the tone, and it steers perilously close to sanctifying Hill’s writing and life. In the first essay of the collection, ‘Dark Star’, an interview with Christina Stead that Hill conducted in 1982 and which he revisited and rewrote in 2017, she and Hill discuss the reception to Patrick White’s then just published autobiography, and Stead says, ‘This, the autobiography, is the last thing they should read… This is his farewell, his sorrow, and everything that people would not understand unless they had read the whole life’.' (Introduction)

1 [Review] Ladies in Black Christos Tsiolkas , 2018 single work review
— Appears in: The Saturday Paper , 29 September - 5 October 2018;

— Review of Ladies in Black Bruce Beresford , Sue Milliken , 2018 single work film/TV

'Bruce Beresford’s Ladies in Black is not just a homage to classical filmmaking and 1950s Sydney, it is also a window into the cultural richness brought by post-World War II refugees. If only it had pushed darker themes further.'  (Introduction)

1 The Migrant Experience Christos Tsiolkas , 2018 extract criticism (Christos Tsiolkas on Patrick White)
— Appears in: The Monthly , May no. 144 2018; (p. 48-50)

'When I read David Marr''s commanding biography, Patrick White: A Life, the storyteller in me was delighted to find that the young Patrick had been shipped to Cheltenham College in England as a youth, and that there he had experienced an exile from home and family that marked his character and his writing throughout his life. Marr eloquently describes the alienation the young boy felt upon being wrenched from his privileged and cocooned upbringing in rural New South Wales and bourgeois Sydney, to find himself suddenly a colonial misfit in one of the elite centres of English life.' (Introduction)

1 Warwick Thornton’s ‘Sweet Country’ Christos Tsiolkas , 2018 single work column
— Appears in: The Saturday Paper , 27 January - 2 February 2018;

'It’s possible that of all the classic Hollywood genres, it is the western in which Australian filmmakers have done their best work. In the process of taking on the genre as their own, they have increasingly reconfigured it to examine and challenge questions of nationhood, identity, history and race.' (Introduction)