Thom: How did you first get in to writing?
Peter: About 10 years ago, I started writing as a form of therapy and joined the early incarnation of SWEATSHOP. For anyone else doing this – don’t try and get this work published. I wrote terrible, non-sensical, mind dumps and have been refining my work ever since.
TS: What’s the driving force behind your work? Are there any issues or ideas or forms that you like to explore in your writing?
PP: Simply put: diasporic melodrama on a bed of queer noir.
I explore patriarchal same sex relationships within a neo-liberal white supremacist society. I try and situate this experience within Western Sydney and inject the complexities of class and geography into my work. So, in my novel Down the Hume, this manifested as a character who is on minimum wage and in a DV (domestic violence) relationship.
In some of my more recent works, I have been including the overlapping themes of queerness and ecology. In a piece that I wrote for Urban Theatre Project called Steps in Katouna, the character interprets his mothers infirm body as the landscape of his ancestral island home.
TS: 5 + 5 is a bit of a collaborative writing experiment, bringing together five different voices to co-author a new script. Is the idea of working with other people on one project daunting? Or is it a nice change from the ‘solitary writer’ kind of stereotype?
PP: The myth of the monastic writer bunkering down in a cave is destructive. Writers are like all artists, they need to be in the world while at the same time being critical of the structures around them. SWEATSHOP is a collective that has created a community of writers. In SWEATSHOP I have found people who share my critical analysis and aren’t scared to call me out on bad work. I am proudest of the work that has been a result of these collaborative processes.