Welcome to my first author interview!
You can find all the info about Nevo’s book below (as well as my questions and Nevo’s answers)! Finding Nevo sounds brilliant and integral (for trans youth as well as a form of education) and I was so lucky to have this opportunity to talk to them, thank you! ❤
20-year-old activist Nevo Zisin is an inspiring young person who identifies as transgender; this is their story.
Title: Finding Nevo
Author: Nevo Zisin
Genre: biography, non-fiction, diverse
Release Date: May 3?, 2017
Publisher: Walker Books Australia
Link to book here.
Me: Since this is a bookish blog, I have to ask: are you currently reading anything right now? (Academic texts included, if you like!) Or is there something you want to pick up but haven’t quite managed to yet?
N: I just finished reading Eyes Too Dry by Alice Chipkin and Jessica Tavassoli, which is a brilliant graphic memoir about friendship and mental health. I couldn’t put it down and read it through about three times in a row. I can’t recommend it highly enough. I’ve also started reading They Cannot Take the Sky, which is a collection of stories from detention on Manus and Nauru. I have also just started Zadie Smith’s Changing My Mind. Also a lot of academic texts for university: lots of poetry, creative non-fiction and texts about Aboriginal women and coloniality.
Me: Are there any new releases you’re keeping an eye out for?
N: I wish I had time to keep an eye out for new releases but at the moment I am too inundated with my own writing and university work on top of it. I’m hoping when things calm down a bit I will be able to seek out new releases!
Me: I saw that you recommended Ida by Alison Evans (which I loved) in your Inside A Dog interview! I haven’t read much fiction that incorporates gender, do you have any book or television show recommendations?
N: I just loved that book so much! I’m going to go back and read it again very soon. Yeah, unfortunately there aren’t a lot. I do highly recommend The Gender Fairy by Jo Hirst for a younger audience. As far as television goes, I did really love Transparent a lot, particularly as a fellow Jewish trans person, it hit a lot of heartstrings. I also absolutely love the US version of Shameless and in the most recent season there was a transgender character in it that was an absolute activist babe and was actually played by a trans actor! (Which is the way it should be). Aside from those I am waiting eagerly for some more accurate representations of gender fluidity and variance in the media!
Me: I also recommend the Netflix TV series Sense8. I saw season 1 and it was amazing; trans character played by a trans actor! We shouldn’t have to hunt for such diversity, it should be in everything. Send recs my way in the comments if you can think of any more!
Me: I studied Judith Butler at university too, do you have an iconic quote or moment of clarity that you realised in her writing? I remember my brain imploding, but in the best way.
N: My brain totally imploded while studying her and still continues to. I think the concept that stood out to me the most was her theory of a “heterosexual matrix”, because I have always felt like I am trapped in this sort of normative world that isn’t suitable for me and it’s so deeply embedded in everything in our society that it seems so covert and difficult to expose but it’s coercive and sinister. Seeing my thoughts and feelings validated through academia was so overwhelming and I just wanted to cry in all of my classes. I felt like her theories actually spoke to me directly and said, “I see you, you’re not alone, you need to keep fighting”.
Me: Has Finding Nevo always been a part of you, have you always wanted to write it? Or did the decision come to you in a momentous flash?
N: I definitely think it has. I have been writing songs and poetry since I was a very small child and have always been a storyteller. It’s really exciting to see all of this hard work come to fruition but I definitely think it was bubbling up inside of me for a long time, and I can see many more stories that need to be told bursting out of my brain!
Me: You’re going to be at Reading Matters in June! What are you looking forward to most about attending?
N: The main thing I’m looking forward to is actually being seen and valued as an author. I’ve received a lot of media since I came out as a lesbian at the age of 14. I have had a lot of interviews about my gender and sexuality, and that’s all great. But it’s really exciting to actually be valued for my work and skills rather than just what my gender identity happens to be. So it feels incredibly validating to be asked to present at Reading Matters surrounded by incredible authors. I am overwhelmingly grateful.
Me: I’m so grateful that Nevo answered all of my questions, they sound incredibly humbled and I was so lucky to feature this lovely book on my blog! (Thank you Nevo!) ❤
And thank you for reading!
Are you going to pick up Finding Nevo? I will be reading it ASAP and I’ve been assured that it’ll make me cry. Is it silly if I say I CAN’T WAIT? No? Excellent.
I also recommend reading Inside A Dog’s interview with Nevo as well, you can find it here! I especially loved the question about being in control of your own narrative. So important and defining.
Huge thank you to both Nevo Zisin and Walker Books Australia for giving me the opportunity to boost such an important book and voice!