22. ilb 07. - 17.09.2022

Julia Leigh

Julia Leigh was born in 1970. She studied philosophy and law at the University of Sydney.

1999 saw the publication of her debut »The Hunter«, which was received enthusiastically by the critics. The British newspaper »The Observer« placed Leigh immediately on its list of the »21 authors to keep an eye on in the new millennium«, and Don DeLillo described the book as »a strong and hypnotic piece of writing«. With extremely atmospheric gravity and narrative stringency, Leigh writes about a hunt for the supposedly extinct Tasmanian tiger. Despite avoiding narration in the first person, Leigh’s text is bound at all times to the ambivalent, apparently unapproachable figure of the nameless soldier who has been entrusted with the ostensibly impossible task by some obscure organisation. The philosophical dimensions of the novel are not only revealed at the meta level, the level of the existential search, but individual passages are rife with reflections about the human condition, particularly in those that stand out due to their precision of style. Just as compelling are the moments of biting wit that suddenly flare up out of nowhere. Leigh’s work is also full of eclectic literary references – from Camus’ »The Fall« to the stories of Ingeborg Bachmann. In 2011 her novel was filmed with Willem Dafoe playing the leading role. Leigh took part in the »Rolex Mentor & Protégé« programme in 2002 and Toni Morrison – Nobel Laureate – worked with her on her second literary work, the novella »Disquiet« (2008), a powerful variation of the ghost story, contemporary and timeless in equal measure. Within a family constellation affected by loss, the grief, self-destruction and life force of the individual characters is not so much revealed; rather, secretiveness and an obscure past compound one another and the actual tension is created in the empty space between the lines. The novella was the recipient of several literary prizes including the Encore Award (2009). While Leigh was not involved in the filming of her first work, she wrote and directed her own film project, »Sleeping Beauty«, which celebrated its premiere and was nominated for both the Palme d’Or and Camera d’Or at the Cannes film festival in 2011. The film has since sold around the world, played in over thirty festivals and has won many awards.

Despite her success as an author, she has not turned her back on her academic work and she gained her PhD in English Language at the University of Adelaide in 2009. Leigh lives in Sydney.