On Thomas Keneally: Writers on Writers
Black Inc., $17.99 hb, 90 pp
Hope is an intangible thing. It cannot be said to exist, nor can it be said not to exist. It is like a path. Originally, there is none - but as many people come and go, a path appears.
Lu Xun, ‘My Old Home’
We both unsettled when the boats came.
Briggs, ‘The Children Came Back’
Let’s start with a portrait. The year is 1993. The book is My Kind of People. Its author is Wayne Coolwell, a journalist. Who are Coolwell’s kind of people? Ernie Dingo, for one. Sandra Eades. Noel Pearson. Archie Roach. And there, sandwiched between opera singer Maroochy Barambah and dancer Linda Bonson is Stan Grant, aged thirty. Circa 1993, Grant is a breakthrough television presenter and journalist whose mother remembers him coming home to read the newspaper while the other kids went to play footy. ‘[T]here was a maturity and a sense of order about him,’ Coolwell writes. The order belies his parents’ life of ‘tin humpies, dirt floors, and usually only the one bed for all the kids in the family’. They are unable to afford a football (Grant relies on rolled-up socks). His sister, one of three siblings, sleeps on a fold-out table. In one house, they have to chase away a group of occupying emus before they can move in.