Christos Tsiolkas
Christos Tsiolkas John Tsiavis

Christos Tsiolkas still amazed at book's runaway success

CHRISTOS Tsiolkas still can't believe 1.5 million people around the world bought his last book, The Slap.

"It did change my life; it gave me financial security for the first time in life," he said.

"That was the major change and I'm very grateful for that, but it was also disorientating for a while which is kind of what led me to writing Barracuda, which is partly about what it means to be successful."

The Slap had the world talking about the ramifications of a boy being slapped by somebody who was not a family member. It won the Commonwealth Writers Prize in 2009, was shortlisted for the Miles Franklin, on the long list for the Man Booker prize, and made into a mini-series for ABC-TV.

Christos (pictured) is on a promotional tour for Barracuda, about a working-class boy on a swimming scholarship at a posh private school. It examines values, friendships, hopes, dreams and families.

The author was in Bangalow last night for an event put on by the Northern Rivers Writers' Centre and told The Northern Star he hoped it would be a "conversation with the audience".

Christos recently delved in to the area of non-fiction; writing a front page feature for The Monthly magazine titled 'Why Australia Hates Asylum Seekers'.

He said it was "one of hardest thing I've ever had to do".

"There is a commitment in that type of journalism that requires a fidelity to the truth. I had to write something that honoured the experience of the refugees I met, but also honoured the debate and argument that is going on in this county... and see if there was a way of doing that that was not polarising."

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