Writers who inspire us

THOUGHTS ON WRITING. I’ve was recently asked which writers have inspired my work. More specifically, to write a critical reflection on works of one or more writers who have informed or influenced me. Two names sprang to mind instantly, job done.

Later, I was driving to a meeting, listening to a radio conversation on current theatre, films and books. Of course, another name popped into my mind, then another, then another. I’ve narrowed it down to eight -today.

Michel Houellebecq – Ever controversial this brilliant satirist makes me feel strangely alive with his brutal, dark humour and courageous themes.

J.B. Priestley- I saw An Inspector Calls on stage in London as a youngster and it ignited my political leanings and made me want to be a playwright. I’ve seen this play a few times since and although it’s never quite had the impact of that first time, it is still a touchstone for my ideological themes.

Linda Aronson-A Brit who moved to Australia, she shares a multi hemisphere lens. I saw Dinkum Assorted, a play about Australia’s social history, in my last year of high school and I knew from that moment I wanted to work in theatre.

David Williamson-Having spent a few years working in the Sydney Opera House, Williamson’s work was the constant of the annual artistic programme. His work taught me about mainstage productions, situational drama, how to draw on current politics, social history and satire and create deeply flawed characters.

Caryl Churchill- The writer I’ve always wanted to be. Her surrealist narratives and postmodern style make her plays courageous and exciting. Top Girls first act is just genius. Layered characters, historical references, feminist themes. So much still to learn from Churchill’s work.

William Shakespeare- The first time I heard music in language was studying Romeo and Juliet when I was 13. Studying Othello and Hamlet in later years only added to my obsession with his incredible works.

Sofia Coppola- I still think Lost in Translation is one of the best film scripts ever. Her character-driven narrative brings all of those quiet questions to the fore when she submerges her characters in an isolated world.

James Graham- Just brilliant political writing. I wrote a little Brexit based stage play that I was rather pleased with, but Graham just smashed my pride to a million tiny pieces with his screenplay of Brexit: An Uncivil War.

August Strindberg- Miss Julie is an extraordinary work. This naturalist piece, a brutal unveiling of the inner world, of intimacies and class structures.

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