WRITING about Perth’s grittier, seamier side is as much about fact as it is fiction for acclaimed crime writer David Whish-Wilson, who joins Monique Mulligan in conversation at Stories on Stage on September 13.
“I aim to write a gripping crime story that will appeal to a broad readership, but also that reflects something specific about the city that I love and call home,” Whish-Wilson said.
“One of the strengths of crime fiction is that it foregrounds place and setting, both to create atmosphere and tone, but also to explore what makes one place and its crime different from every other place.
“I try to use stories that reflect something of the truth of this place.
“Not all of my representations of this place are flattering, and yet I’ve been paid the compliment many times over the years by people who’ve contacted me to say, on the one hand ‘finally someone has written about this’, and on the other hand ‘I didn’t know that about my city, but now I’m glad that I do.’”
Whish-Wilson has taught in the prison system in both WA and Fiji, where he started the country’s first prisoner writing program, which now operates in all Fijian prisons, but says his writing, experiences and research have not changed the way he sees Perth.
“Working in the prison system, and knowing some people from that world, and relying on interviews and information from people of that world has opened my eyes to some things that I might’ve otherwise missed,” he said.
“And yet the way I see it, crime is part of every society, and knowing about some of the things that go on here, often in plain sight, doesn’t diminish my love for this place and my feeling of gratitude that I get to live here.”
The Fremantle-based author’s second novel Line of Sight the first in the Frank Swann series, was published by Penguin in 2010 and short-listed for a 2011 Ned Kelly Award.
Zero at the Bone followed in 2013 and Old Scores was released in 2016.
WHAT: Stories on Stage with David Whish-Wilson
WHEN: September 13 at 7pm.
WHERE: Kooliny Arts Centre, Kwinana
TICKETS: $15 call 9467 7118.