Talking Animals: Laura Jean Mckay and Philip Armstrong

31 October 2020 | WORD Christchurch Spring Festival

In Laura Jean McKay‘s visceral and eerily topical novel, The Animals in That Country, a pandemic is sweeping Australia. This is no ordinary flu though – the virus enables humans to communicate with animals. But protagonist Jean, ‘hard-drinking, foul-mouthed, and allergic to bullshit’ is no Dr Dolittle. Philip Armstrong‘s debut poetry collection, Sinking Lessons, also features lots of animals, from dogs to eels to hares to leaf-cutter ants, drawing on his academic work in human-animal studies. Both writers appear in conversation with each other about their books and ask: what would the animals say if they could talk to us?

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