It's a bestselling book, shortlisted for several literary awards, that has polarised readers and reviewers.
The Atlantic suggested Hanya Yanagihara's A Little Life, a harrowing tale of friendship and trauma set over 720 pages, might be the "great gay novel" and the Observer called it a "devastating read". But even its editor wondered if the abuse suffered by one of its lead characters would be "too hard for anybody to take".
Now, Melbourne book lovers will be able to hear from the American novelist herself when she appears in May as part of the upcoming season of Wheeler Centre events.
The Wheeler Centre has announced the new program for its second season of 2016, featuring authors who write for page, voice, screen and stage, and who embrace – among other things – fiction, memoir, translation, drama, rap and podcasting.
Guests include Paula Hawkins, author of the psychological thriller The Girl On The Train; groundbreaking memoir writer Vivian Gornick; and novelist and screenwriter William Boyd.
Audio storytelling is a focus: P. J. Vogt, co-host of the Reply All podcast, Starlee Kine, host of the podcast Mystery Show, will explore the nature of their medium. On the local front, Annabel Crabb and Leigh Sales will record an episode of their Chat 10 Looks 3 podcast in front of a live audience. And Ira Glass, from National Public Radio's This American Life, is bringing a stage show in July that combines live radio and contemporary dance.
The program also matches international and local guests in conversation. Rapper-poet-novelist Kate Tempest will talk to writer and poet Maxine Beneba Clarke; Susie Orbach, author of the 1970s classic Fat Is A Feminist Issue, will speak with writer and cartoonist Kaz Cooke.
Ann Goldstein, an editor at The New Yorker and translator of the bestselling works by the enigmatic Italian novelist Elena Ferrante, will speak with author and translator Robert Dessaix; novelist and essayist Jonathan Franzen will discuss his new book, Purity, with broadcaster and Meanjin editor Jonathan Green, and playwright and screenwriter David Hare will be in conversation with lawyer and human rights advocate Julian Burnside, ahead of the Melbourne Theatre Company's staging in June of Hare's play Skylight.