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Christos Tsiolkas

1998 (printed 2009)
John Tsiavis

type C photograph on paper (sheet: 54.6 cm x 50.8 cm, image: 40.5 cm x 33 cm)

Christos Tsiolkas (b. 1965) is a Melbourne-born writer of Greek descent, whose work deals uncompromisingly with sexuality, identity and politics. His first novel Loaded (1995) was made into the award-winning film Head On (1997), directed by Anna Kokkinos and starring Alex Dimitriades. His third novel Dead Europe (2005) won The Age Fiction Book of the Year. Tsiolkas' non-fiction includes a study of Fred Shepisi's 1976 film The Devil's Playground, the philosophical dialogue Jump Cuts (1996) co-written with Sasha Soldatow, and his literary study On Patrick White (2018). Since 1998, Tsiolkas has also worked as a playwright on plays that have been performed in Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide and Canberra. For his 2008 novel The Slap, a taut drama reflecting the changing cultural face of suburban Australia, he won Overall Best Book in the Commonwealth Writers' Prize 2009, was shortlisted for the 2009 Miles Franklin Literary Award, longlisted for the 2010 Man Booker Prize, and won the Australian Literary Society Gold Medal and the 2009 Australian Booksellers Association and Australian Book Industry Awards Books of the Year. Both The Slap and Barracuda, published in 2013, were made into acclaimed television series. His 2019 novel Damascus won the 2020 Victorian Premier's Prize for Fiction. Tsiolkas has mentored emerging writers, a role he sees as reflecting his own experience; 'I was very fortunate that I had a couple of mentors in my life,' he says.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Purchased 2009
© John Tsiavis

The National Portrait Gallery respects the artistic and intellectual property rights of others. Works of art from the collection are reproduced as per the Australian Copyright Act 1968 (Cth). The use of images of works from the collection may be restricted under the Act. Requests for a reproduction of a work of art can be made through a Reproduction request. For further information please contact NPG Copyright.
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Audio description

1 minute 8 seconds
Show transcript

Artist and subject

John Tsiavis (age 21 in 1998)

Christos Tsiolkas (age 33 in 1998)

Subject professions

Performing arts

Related information

The Companion

Permanent collection catalogue

Café and shop

On one level The Companion talks about the most famous and frontline Australians, but on another it tells us about ourselves: who we read, who we watch, who we listen to, who we cheer for, who we aspire to be, and who we'll never forget. The Companion is available to buy online and in the Portrait Gallery Store.

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Christos Tsiolkas

'Learning to write saved my life'

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Acclaimed Australian author, Christos Tsiolkas describes his childhood and how he came to write.

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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders past and present. We respectfully advise that this site includes works by, images of, names of, voices of and references to deceased people.

This website comprises and contains copyrighted materials and works. Copyright in all materials and/or works comprising or contained within this website remains with the National Portrait Gallery and other copyright owners as specified.

The National Portrait Gallery respects the artistic and intellectual property rights of others. The use of images of works of art reproduced on this website and all other content may be restricted under the Australian Copyright Act 1968 (Cth). Requests for a reproduction of a work of art or other content can be made through a Reproduction request. For further information please contact NPG Copyright.

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