The wonderful team at AusYaBloggers (instagram and blog) recently organised an #OwnVoices book tour for Kindred: 12 Queer #LoveOzYA Stories and not only was I gifted a free copy of this novel, but I was able to do a quick interview with Nevo Zisin, one of the amazing authors in this novel. I’ll be posting a (very detailed, very glowing) review of this book shortly, so keep your eyes peeled! The masterpost for all Kindred book tour posts can be found HERE.
A bit about Nevo Zisin before we dive in:
NEVO ZISIN is a Jewish, queer, non-binary activist, public speaker and author of Finding Nevo (2017), a memoir on gender transition. They are based in Melbourne/Naarm and run workshops and professional development in schools and workplaces around gender inclusivity, unconscious bias and recruitment. They have appeared in various media discussing their complex relationship with gender. Nevo is a contact point in the Jewish community for other children and families confronting issues of gender and sexuality in their own lives.
Jay: The workshops you run for children about gender and inclusivity seem really fascinating. How receptive are the children to these lessons?
Nevo Zisan: I find children are far more receptive to these workshops than adults are. They have so much less to unlearn and they have this really intrinsic sense of what is right and wrong. I also think nowadays, young people are exposed to far more diversity, so I’m constantly taken aback by children saying, ‘that means transgender’ or understanding other complex language, they’re really switched on and fantastic to work with.
J: Do you have any go-to children’s books about gender and sexuality that you recommend?
NZ: I definitely recommend both of Jo Hirst’s books, The Gender Fairy and A House for Everyone. Also Jessica Walton’s Introducing Teddy. I also highly recommend getting down to Squishy Minnie Bookshop in Kyneton for a huge range of children’s books around gender and sexuality. When I went there last they gave me the biggest pile of incredible books I hadn’t even heard of!
J: You published a memoir about two years ago now. How did you find the transition between writing a memoir and writing fiction?
NZ: Well it’s certainly not the hardest transition I’ve ever been through! Haha. But seriously, it’s been really exciting. I’ve had to do a lot of combatting of my imposter syndrome in feeling like I’m not a real writer but just had a good story. It’s been really nice to write fiction and feel like I actually am a capable writer. It’s also really nice to create characters I’d really like to see, like for example single fathers who are loving and supportive of their queer children, that has been really healing for me. I can’t wait to write more fiction!
J: You recently gave a talk at Flinders University and I know you’ve mentioned the possibility of going back to university. I’m curious as to what you’d study. Something to do with writing or education? Do you already have any formal training in writing?
NZ: I did half of an Arts Degree at Melbourne University with a double major in Indigenous Studies and Creative Writing. I would love to continue to do something along those lines but probably not at Melbourne. I found it was too rigid and academic for what I was actually looking for. I’m thinking about going to RMIT and focusing on literature and screen writing. I would love to transition into writing for the screen and creating more queer-centric / trans focused representation on screen. But right now I’m studying to be a marriage celebrant, so that’s something a little different!
Find out more about Nevo on:
I’d like to thank both Nevo Zisin for answering my questions in such wonderful detail, and AusYABloggers for providing me with this fantastic opportunity. You can purchase both Kindred, and Finding Nevo from the links below.
KINDRED: 12 QUEER #LOVEOZYA STORIES:
#KindredStories #AusYaBloggers #AusQueerYA #LoveOZYA #OwnVoices