Robert Drewe / Louis Nowra / Dinny O'Hearn

In the latest Weekend Round-Up I started off by linking to a piece by Robert Drewe in last Saturday's "Age" newspaper. This piece had Drewe looking back on his time attending the Melbourne Writers' Festival. One anecdote, in particular, seems have struck a nerve with one of the featured writers, Louis Nowra. The anecdote went as follows: "It began innocently enough on the Friday evening. When playwright and novelist Louis Nowra and I came out of a talk session together. I suggested a drink at Stewart's, where, as a visitor from Sydney, I planned to catch up with Dinny O'Hearn. Louis thought this was a good idea. I soon learnt why. "We arrived there and ordered a drink; Dinny arrived five minutes later, and as he was removing his coat and tweed cap, Louis rushed up and swung a punch at him. It turned out that Dinny had recently unfavourably reviewed Louis' novel Palu. A small hubbub followed, culminating in Louis rapidly exiting the pub."

All good festival fun you might think, but it probably helps if you get the story right. Or, at least, check available sources. Yesterday, Wednesday 17th August, Louis Nowra wrote to "The Age" to give his side of the story. He starts his letter by outlining Drewe's version of events and comments that it is "wildly inaccurate". "First, although my novel had been reviewed by a D.J. O'Hearn, I had never heard of him...A few years later, O'Hearn said in an interview that we discussed the review, which admittedly had annoyed me, and then I went for him. He said my aggression was over the review.

"This was slightly disingenuous. Palu was a novel about a black woman and at the time my girlfriend was black. The fact was that he made some derogatory remarks about black women that so incensed me that I determined to clock him."

So, we all squared away about that then?

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on August 18, 2005 3:46 PM.

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