Di, 7.11.2023

Our Experience of the International Literature Festival in Berlin 2023

This year, we visited the International Literature Festival in Berlin. More specifically we visited the reading of “The Boy from the Mish” by the author Gary Lonesborough in the “Haus der Berliner Festspiele”.

Gary Lonesborough is an aboriginal queer author who started writing because he couldn’t see himself in the books he read. He also didn’t want other people like him to feel the lack of representation in books he felt as a child / young adult. In an interview with “The Guardian” magazine, he also commented on this topic by saying:

“I stopped reading because I couldn't see myself in books. So I wrote one instead”

He grew up in a poor neighborhood in the town of Bega, New South Wales. Growing up, he was constantly writing his own stories. Originally, none of his writing was intended to be published, on the contrary, he wrote it for himself, in a therapeutic sense. But, after spending 4 years of his life on “The Boy from the Mish”, he decided that his writing was too good to keep to himself.

“The Boy from the Mish” is a coming-of-age novel about an aboriginal queer boy named Jackson living together with his family in a poor neighborhood mostly composed of aboriginal people aka “The Mish”. One day around Christmas his aunt visits him as usual, except this time a strange boy named Tomas is with her. Tomas moves into Jacksons' room, where he sleeps for the duration of his stay at their house. Throughout the book, Jackson slowly comes to terms with his sexual orientation and gets together with Tomas.

Even though it is a fictional novel the book is inspired by his own experiences as a young adult.

Our conclusion is that we really enjoyed the Literature festival in Berlin and are glad that we could visit this event and listen to the reading of “The Boy from the Mish”/the interview with Gary Lonesborough.

Simon und Rasmus, Klasse 9.1


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