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In this documentary Peter Corris interacts with fictional characters from his many books, including Wet Graves, White Heat and The Dying Trade, weaving together fact and fiction and illustrating that the ‘mean streets’ of sunny Sydney are every bit as murky and dangerous as those of New York or Los Angeles.
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A self-confessed formula writer, influenced by Chandler, Ross McDonald and Elroy, Corris admits that he will never write a great book, but that he seeks to reach as many people as
possible. Averaging five books a year, he talks about the great pleasure he takes from the whole process, from switching on the word processor to donning his characters like an old
coat and falling into their speech patterns.
He discusses the way in which his creations give him a vicarious life as a tough guy and the thorny problem of writing sex scenes, especially when they are read by his teenage daughters. His writing covers a wide spectrum, including non-fiction, but central to his work is the geographical setting of Sydney, a city which he fled to as a refugee from academic life in Victoria and which maintains a strong hold over his imagination.
He is filmed travelling around the city, in a tattoo parlour in the King’s Cross district, in Bondi, the harbour and bay area, and at a race-track and boxing gym. He also talks about
his struggle with diabetes, a threat to his sight and an ever-present reminder of his mortality, and the possibility of losing ‘the knack’ – the two incentives which spur him on.
Directed by Malcolm McDonald, 1985
© Licensed by Digital Classics Distribution