Bachelor of Arts (Professional and Creative Writing) and Arts (Honours) graduate, Christopher Lappas, has been involved in the creative arts in one way or another for most of his life.
He’s been employed as a professional musician, songwriter, photographer, and newspaper editor-in-chief—and in countless other jobs along the way, particularly while paying his way through Uni! His published works include poetry, interviews, reviews, advertising copy, plays, and numerous short stories.
‘But no other art form has attracted me, or affected me,’ Christopher says, ‘quite like the novel and literature.’ ‘Unfortunately,’ he says with regret, ‘no art form seems more in a state of fragility at present than the book industry. Literary publishing as we know it is in decline. But it is also begging for new life, something that will only be attained through a concerted effort by every sector of the industry: from authors, editors, and publishers, through to booksellers, readers, and the media.’ Christopher believes that ‘obsession with commercial success and mass consumption’ has left the interests of authors and the advancement of literature and creativity with little space to breathe.
As a writer, Christopher found it ‘impossible to sit back and watch our literary industry become overtly homogeneous.’ Christopher responded by cofounding Ilura Press, a Melbourne-based boutique publishing house, with Sabina Hopfer, who was completing her PhD in Australia as an international student after gaining a Masters of Literature from Zurich University. After two years of planning and developing they launched Ilura Press (www.ilurapress.com) in 2006. Ilura produce the highly acclaimed creative journal Etchings, and in 2008 they released their first four novels.
Christopher says that when he began his studies at Deakin, he had ‘a lot of abstract ideas and concepts that needed consolidating.’ University life helped him to ‘transform those thoughts into tangible working models, helped me to articulate and express my ideas; I understood how to do that through song-writing, combining music and lyrics, but academically I was less confident. By the time I finished my degree, I was a much better writer and theorist.’
He has recently begun writing again: ‘I’ve been immersed in publishing, editing, and running a business for four years. It’s time for me to write and create again for myself. I’m only dabbling, including re-working an unfinished project that was collecting dust on a shelf, but it’s an encouraging sign. And it’s liberating. I’m feeling the emotional and psychical benefits already.’