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Crusader Hillis

Crusader Hillis

Crusader Hillis is a writer, editor, curator, and producer. He co-founded (with Rowland Thomson) the queer bookshop Hares & Hyenas in 1991. They have since presented over 500 literary and performance events for festivals in Melbourne and Sydney. Hares & Hyenas is now also a fully licensed performance venue presenting over 120 events per year.

Crusader’s fiction and non-fiction has been published in magazines and newspapers here and in the UK. He has had a distinguished parallel career in the arts, managing organisations and marketing teams for festivals, consulting for various major organisations, and serving on several boards and committees.

Crusader Hillis reviews 'The Pillars' by Peter Polites

September 2019, no. 414 08 September 2019
The 2019 federal election result confirmed that housing prices, upward mobility, tax cuts, and limited immigration are powerful motivators for Australian voters. Peter Polites’s second novel, The Pillars, with its themes of social and material advancement in Sydney’s western suburbs, captures this spirit of the time perfectly. Pano, the main character, studies people – those better off, more ... (read more)

Crusader Hillis reviews 'Finding Nevo' by Nevo Zisin

June-July 2017, no. 392 31 May 2017
‘Coming out’ stories remain one of the most potent sources for young people to understand their own relationship to sex, gender, and sexuality. Living in a largely heteronormative society, many young people find a place in these stories to validate and challenge their thoughts and experiences. Nevo Zisin’s memoir, written at the age of twenty, covers these areas but also speaks to those livi ... (read more)

Crusader Hillis reviews 'Down the Hume' by Peter Polites

May 2017, no. 391 30 April 2017
Peter Polites’s first novel is remarkable in its power to evoke growing up caught between conflicting cultural and sexual identities. It tells the story of Bux, a gay man haunted by his addiction to painkillers, his abusive relationship with his drug-dealing bodybuilder boyfriend, his violent alcoholic Greek father, and a childhood where his sexuality and his traditional Greek upbringing mark hi ... (read more)

Crusader Hillis reviews 'Kings Rising' by C.S. Pacat

June–July 2016, no. 382 23 May 2016
Kings Rising is the final in C.S. Pacat's Captive Prince trilogy. Set in an invented world that evokes medieval France and Ancient Greece, it follows Damianos, the Prince of Akielos, and Laurent, Prince of Vere. When Damianos's half-brother overthrows their father in a palace coup, he imprisons Damianos and sends him to Vere as a pleasure slave for Laurent. The first two books follow Damianos, ren ... (read more)

Crusader Hillis reviews 'Wolf, Wolf' by Eben Venter

May 2015, no. 371 28 April 2015
Mattheüs (Mattie) Duiker is a thirty-something gay man with a chequered past and an addiction to porn. His Afrikaans father, Bennie, is a self-made man, a larger-than-life uber-masculine traditionalist who has forever cast a shadow over his family. Bennie is dying from terminal cancer, and Mattie is his primary carer. Mattie, desperate to make something of his life, sets out to create a business, ... (read more)

Crusader Hillis reviews 'The Boatman' by John Burbidge

April 2015, no. 370 27 March 2015
John Burbidge’s The Boatman was first published last year in India, by Yoda Press. Its moving afterword describes Burbidge’s return to India last year for the book launch and his attendance at an LGBT pride march there. Burbidge was struck by how strongly the cause of sexual rights had been embraced by other elements of Indian society who also face discrimination from their countrymen. ... (read more)

Crusader Hillis reviews 'Lesbian for a Year' by Brooke Hemphill

November 2014, no. 366 01 November 2014
Brooke Hemphill knows hers was not meant to be an ordinary existence, yet by her early twenties she is engaged and planning the perfect wedding – with the wrong guy. She breaks it off and moves in with a married man. He, too, is wrong for her. She works on an island resort and falls for another, but he takes off for Europe. She travels to the United States and works on a cruise ship. Life is a c ... (read more)

Crusader Hillis reviews 'The Boy’s Own Manual to Being a Proper Jew' by Eli Glasman

October 2014, no. 365 01 October 2014
Eli Glasman’s début novel is aimed at a Young Adult audience, but should also enjoy a long life on adult fiction shelves. Seemingly based on Glasman’s own upbringing as an Orthodox Jew in Caulfield, a Melbourne suburb, the book is fascinating in its candid observations of the rituals, strictures, and arcane customs of Orthodox Judaism, particularly those of the Lubavitch sect, with its emphas ... (read more)

Crusader Hillis reviews 'Two Boys Kissing' by David Levithan

February 2014, no. 358 19 January 2014
David Levithan’s latest book has proved extremely popular with adolescent and adult readers alike, particularly gay men who lived through the first wave of HIV/Aids. The main storyline, which takes place over a couple of days, centres on two gay teenagers, former boyfriends Harry and Craig, who set out to break the Guinness Record for a continuous kiss (more than thirty-two hours). ... (read more)
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