The Abyssinian Contortionist
The Abyssinian Contortionist (UWAP, 2015) tells the story of my friend, and my friendship with, Ethiopian/Australian circus performer Sosina Wogayehu. In an ideal world you can buy it at your local bookshop (or order it in), or you can buy it online, for instance from UWAP or from New Internationalist. Check here for for updates on events and readings.
A biography like no other, this is an unfalteringly clever work of creative non-fiction.
MICHELLE MCLAREN, THE NEWTOWN REVIEW OF BOOKS
Quietly compelling and subtly radiant. Sosina is a rock of strength and determination and her biographer David Carlin is a self-deprecating guide who chronicles her tumultuous and triumphant journey from Ethiopia to Australia and back again with rare sensitivity and grace. I couldn’t put it down.
ROBIN HEMLEY, AUTHOR OF NOLA AND DO-OVER
Exactly the kind of creative non-fiction Australia needs: Carlin's sensitive, engaging and articulate portrait of the sassy somersaulting Sosina Wogayehu is a delicate cross-cultural balancing act which will surely be met with thunderous applause.
MAXINE BENEBA CLARKE, AUTHOR OF FOREIGN SOIL AND THE HATE RACE
This meta, self-reflexive style of writing easily could have been a gimmick, and quickly tiresome, but from the outset it is clear Carlin is a master storyteller who is well-equipped for the challenge of capturing the life of a woman about whose culture, at the outset, he knows practically nothing. The subject of The Abyssinian Contortionist is clearly a remarkable person of unusual social mobility and ability, yet Carlin manages to navigate the high-wire act of astute observation without falling into hagiography.
ANDREW MCMILLEN, THE AUSTRALIAN
Her friend David Carlin calls contortionist Sosina Wogayehu a 'can-do kind of woman', and reading his new biography on the former child asylum seeker and Circus Oz star, it's hard to argue.
CAROLYN WEBB, THE AGE