Open Page with Louis Nowra

Australian Book Review
Published in May 2017, no. 391

Why do you write?

Louis Nowra Credit Adam KnottLouis Nowra (photograph by Adam Knott)If I knew the answer to that I probably wouldn’t write.

Are you a vivid dreamer?

I know I dream, but all I remember are my nightmares.

Where are you happiest?

Weekends in bed with my wife, Mandy, and Coco and Basil, our chihuahuas.

What is your favourite film?

The mysterious and exquisite The Colour of Pomegranates (1968), directed by Sergei Parajanov.

And your favourite book?

Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov.

Name the three people with whom you would most like to dine.

A St Patrick’s Day dinner with Oscar Wilde, Jonathan Swift, and Flann O’Brien.

Which word do you most dislike, and name one you would like to see back in public usage?

‘Liminal’ is a word abused by academics to spice up their bad prose. ‘Drongo’ sounds like its meaning and perfectly describes certain people.

Who is your favourite author?

Vladimir Nabokov

And your favourite literary hero and heroine?

Proust’s Marcel and Thackeray’s Becky Sharp.

Which quality do you most admire in a writer?

Curiosity.

Name an early literary idol or influence whom you no longer admire – or vice versa.

Rereading Pynchon was a truly dispiriting experience, but Philip Roth’s Portnoy’s Complaint is even more exuberant and funny the second time round.

What, if anything, impedes your writing?

Having a life.

How do you regard publishers?

If they publish my work they’re terrific – if not, then they’re drongos.

What do you think of the state of criticism?

There are no critics anymore, only reviewers.

And writers’ festivals?

For an extrovert a chance to entertain, for an introvert sheer hell.

Are artists valued in our society?

Australia doesn’t value artists much, but it keeps us humble, which may be a good thing.

What are you working on now?

A novel.


Louis Nowra is an Australian writer, playwright, screenwriter, and librettist. He is the author of plays including Inner Voices, Visions, Inside the Island, Così, Radiance, and The Boyce Trilogy. He has also written five non-fiction works, The Cheated, Warne’s World, Walkabout, Chihuahuas, Women and Me, and Bad Dreaming; the novels The Misery of Beauty, Palu, Red Nights, Abaza, and Ice; the young adult novels Into That Forest and Prince of Afghanistan; and the memoirs The Twelfth of Never and Shooting the Moon, as well as radio plays, telemovies, and film scripts.

Published in May 2017, no. 391

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