BOOK LIST / Stories Told Anew

28 November 2017


In 2018, Malthouse Theatre continues its commitment to sharing Australian stories and adapting new and classic works of Australian writing for the stage. Ahead of Season 2018, here are our top reads for those lazy summer days.


On Valentine’s Day in 1900, four school girls and a teacher venture up Hanging Rock. When all but one vanish, never to be seen again, Joan Lindsay’s poetic nightmare begins. Lindsay’s seminal novel has haunted the Australian psyche for decades, inspiring a film, a radio play, stage adaptations (including ours), fashion spreads, music videos and a new Foxtel miniseries filming this year. 

Malthouse Theatre’s adaptation of Picnic at Hanging Rock returns for a special season in Melbourne before traveling to the Barbican in London. Revisit this summer classic, perhaps in the shadow of Mt. Macedon. 

GOOD MUSLIM BOY / By Osamah Sami

If you enjoyed this year’s hit Australian film Ali’s Wedding, you’ll love Osamah Sami’s hilarious and heartbreaking memoir, Good Muslim Boy. The novel that inspired the film, Sami tells the story of his journey from Iran during the Iraq war to the suburbs of Australia. Living at the cross currents of two cultures, he’s trying to stay a good Muslim boy.  

We’re thrilled to have Osamah Sami at Malthouse Theatre to present a new stage adaptation of Good Muslim Boy as part of Season 2018. 

BLISS / By Peter Carey

Australian storyteller Peter Carey is known for classic works of fiction including Oscar & Lucinda and The True History of the Kelly Gang. His first novel, Bliss, won the 1981 Miles Franklin Award for its darkly comic vision of 80s Australia. The story’s protagonist, Harry Joy, is an Ad Man who briefly 'dies' of a heart attack. On his revival he awakens to a perverse vision of suburban Sydney, which he concludes must be Hell. Literally.

In 2018, Matthew Lutton and Tom Wright will adapt Carey’s masterful prose and vivid imagery into a new stage play. 

BANANA GIRL / By Michele Lee

Playwright and author Michele Lee creates work about female identity, otherness and intimacy. Her novel Banana Girl is no exception. An intimate and irreverent memoir of her life as a Melbourne twentysomething, Banana Girl spans cultural angst, hipster introspection and lots and lots of sex. Her life as a chatroom surfing, culturally-engaged public servant is contrasted with her reflections on her Hmong-Australian family, and the legacy of their migration.

In addition to being one of Malthouse Theatre’s IN HOUSE residency artists, Lee will debut her new theatre work, Going Down with us in 2018.  

RUINS / By Rajith Savanadasa

Melbourne-based, Sri Lankan born writer Rajith Savanadasa is one of our LIVING NOW participants, and we can’t put down his debut novel, Ruins. Set in Colombo at the end of Sri Lanka's civil war, the novel tells the intertwining stories of a middle-class family picking up the pieces. 

With sharp and honest observations on race, class and family, Savanadasa creates a complex and thoughtprovoking portrait of Sri Lanka emerging from the ruins of the civil war. A beautiful read. 

PHOTOGRAPHY / Phoebe Powell