Peter Coleman and Matt Fowles’ friendship began in university lecture halls and has become a lifelong story of mateship.
With Matt now a renowned winemaker in Victoria, and Peter working as a consultant after completing his PhD, the pandemic provided the perfect opportunity to share the story of their friendship in Weekends with Matt.
Part memoir, part wine companion, the book has been jokingly described as a “tipsy” version of Tuesdays with Morrie.
‘I feel very seen by Matt’
After studying together at university, the friendship deepened when Peter faced rejection from his family after he came out as gay.
“So my parents were not, and are not, accepting of my sexuality, and that was very difficult for me,” Peter said
“And particularly when I met Matt, I was really struggling with that, and still struggle with it.
“When you experience that kind of rejection, it’s so easy to turn it against yourself. Matt’s someone who’s always made me feel loved, accepted, and understood.”
Matt said helping Peter through that experience had been a turning point in their friendship.
“I wasn’t a parent then, but I was just astonished that parents could react that way,” he said.
“And I think he was moved by my surprise and disappointment in that.”
Weekends with Matt is a story about male friendship
After discussing the idea of writing a book for a number of years, the COVID-19 pandemic provided the perfect opportunity to focus on the project.
For Peter, it allowed him to pursue his lifelong dream of becoming an author.
“I’ve wanted to be an author since I was a teenager, and when the pandemic hit, I suddenly had all this free time,” Peter said.
“My work as a consultant dried up, so I called up Matt and said ‘why don’t we do the book now? Why don’t we write it now?'”
The process gave both men something to focus on despite the uncertainty and said it strengthened their friendship.
Working in the largely heteronormative agricultural industry, Matt said that Weekends with Matt is a book about the beauty of male friendship.
“I think what’s a bit unusual is the book profiles a healthy and happy, platonic male relationship,” Matt said.
“I think that’s something that, frankly, guys need to get more comfortable with.
“It’s about being open and honest with each other. I want all my mates to read it.”
Weekends with Matt is available to purchase at Booktopia.
For the latest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and queer (LGBTIQ) news in Australia, visit qnews.com.au. Check out our latest magazines or find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.