Bastian Fox Phelan

Writer, zine maker & musician from Mulubinba Newcastle, Australia.

Latest Work

How to Be Between is a memoir about female facial hair, polycystic ovarian syndrome, and negotiating identity for those visibly between gender binaries.

"How to Be Between charts a coming-of-age that is also a coming into identity, and into a way of being that embraces liminality, ambiguity and unboundedness. Phelan captures the excruciating intensity and unfolding discoveries of adolescence and early adulthood with a candour and an openness to wonder that are a joy to read, and they offer fascinating accounts of contemporary queer activism, the consolations of solitude and of art, and the difficulties of maintaining a sense of the individual within any kind of collective or consensus."
Fiona Wright

The book cover for How To Be Between

Bastian Fox Phelan

How To Be Between

Available in all good book stores May 1st, 2022

Young women’s bodies are relentlessly scrutinised and judged, so for most, the appearance of facial hair is a traumatic experience – unnatural, unfeminine, unwanted. But what happens when a female-assigned person decides to embrace their facial hair? In How to Be Between, Bastian Fox Phelan explores how something as seemingly trivial as facial hair can act as a catalyst for a never-ending series of questions about the self. What happens when we accept our bodies as they are? What freedoms are gained by deciding to pursue an authentic sense of self, and what are the costs? As Bastian navigates adolescence and young adulthood, they meet many people who ask, ‘Who, or what, are you?’Written with a tender sense of compassion and openness to experience, Phelan’s memoir charts a young activist and writer’s life as they find their voice through political action, publishing zines and playing music. An exploration of youthful anxiety, medical discourse and shifting identities, Bastian Fox Phelan’s memoir shines a light on what it means to find joy, resilience and radical self-acceptance in a body that refuses to fit within gender binaries.

Other Writing


‘I Know Such A Hidden Pool’ – Sydney Review of Books (2021)

'Finding quietude in Finland: A shivering lake‘' – Archer (2020)

'Female facial hair is not uncommon. What happens when we make it visible?' – The Guardian (2022)


‘Mistakes are what make zines beautiful’ – Kill Your Darlings (2019)

‘Zines: an independent platform for self-expression’ – Museum of Australian Democracy (2021)

'Bastian Fox Phelan on 'how to be between'’ – Life Matters (2022)

Bastian Fox Phelan


Bastian Fox Phelan is a writer, musician and zinemaker living in Mulubinba Newcastle on Awabakal land. Bastian’s debut memoir about female facial hair and gender identity was published by Giramondo in May 2022.Bastian has been publishing zines since 2004. Their zines are held in collections around the world, and they have worked with the Museum of Contemporary Art Australia and National Young Writers’ Festival on their annual Zine Fair events. Bastian is a PhD student at the University of Newcastle, working on an eco-memoir of Mulubinba Newcastle.


For enquires and bookings contact Jane Novak.