‘Gonzo’ plunge into the ghetto

Castlemaine's Maz Wilson with copies of her new book, Ghetto. Photo: Eve Lamb

Eve Lamb


Out of two global disasters comes the newly released debut novel by Castlemaine’s Maz Wilson.
Ghetto traces the life of a young Australian photographer as she takes a ‘gonzo’ plunge into the ghetto, sharing a rundown terrace with grungers in inner Melbourne, squatting in a condemned tenement with ‘fringe dwellers’ in London and living with artists in a seedy loft in Manhattan.
Then, instead of covering the story, Alex becomes part of one, as she escapes New York’s most audacious attack.
While a work of fiction, Ghetto is strongly grounded in fact surrounding the 2001 9/11 World Trade Centre twin towers attack, and the book’s release coincides with the 20th anniversary of that catastrophic event that triggered the war on Afghanistan.
“I went to writing school at RMIT and at that time 9/11 hit,” recounts widely-travelled Wilson whose prior published non-fiction works include Life on the Edge and Brunswick Street Art & Revolution.
The second global calamity that brought the book into being is the COVID-19 pandemic with the writer acknowledging that it was finding herself in lockdown that brought the book into being.
“You can thank COVID for that,” she says.
It had been fomenting for two decades – ever since the date of the actual twin towers attack when Wilson, at the time studying writing at RMIT, was prompted to start taking notes recording the devastating historic event as it unfolded before the eyes of the world.
She says that in writing Ghetto she drew heavily on factual news reports alongside her own personal experiences of locations in which her narrative unwinds including Fitzroy, London and New York. Read more in today’s Mail…