Meet the Writer: Felicity Castagna

October 13, 2023

With Girls In Boys’ Cars I wanted to write two feisty characters who are not defined by any simple idea of what a ‘girl’s story’ is. Growing up one of my favourite books was Jack Kerouac’s On The Road. I loved the way the boys in that book just drive off from life and I guess I always fantasised about being able to do that too. But girls don’t get to inhabit these kinds of stories.

Boys on the road are looking for adventure, women always seem to be running away and driving themselves over cliffs like Thelma and Louise. I wanted to write something where girls get to be the agents of their own kind of road story even if it’s complicated and everyone else is always getting in the way.

I wanted a lot of it to be about the frustration of not quite knowing how to convey your story and not feeling like anyone was interested in listening to it anyway. I think ultimately that’s what drives everything that Asheeka and Rosa do.

Rosa and Asheeks love and care for each other deeply but also can’t stand each other at the same time. They have different levels of privilege, different relationships with their families, boys and their own status as girls but they also come from the same place. I wanted to show how different we can be even within our own geographical communities and I also wanted to show that struggle—and failure—to completely understand the other people in our place even when the intention is genuine.

Like Rosa and Asheeka, I’ve spent a lot of time eating Maccas in the parking lot across the road from The Riverside Theatres and sitting in the back of cars going up and down Church Street. Parramatta is a community of thousands of complicated, contradictory stories. This production brings those lives into my favourite theatre. It’s like bringing them home.

19 Oct – 3 Nov 

Felicity Castagna has published four novels for adults and young adults including her most recent book, Girls In Boys’ Cars which received The Victorian and Queensland Premier’s Literary Awards and was a CBCA Honour book. Her previous novel, No More Boats was a finalist in the 2018 Miles Franklin Literary Award. Her novel The Incredible Here and Now received The Prime Minister’s Award for Young Adult Literature. She has worked with artists in many different fields to produce cross-artform collaborations, theatre and installation for major festivals.