Carmen Callil Interview

It's been about a year since Bad Faith: A Forgotten History of Family, Fatherland and Vichy France by Carmen Callil was published, and still she gets grief over it. This week Emma Brockes interviews the author about her career, the book, and the reactions to it.

It is 34 years since Callil founded Virago, the feminist publishing house, and over a decade since her relationship with it ended, but her reputation still derives from that era: outspoken, pushy -- strident, in the pejorative of the day -- and inexorably linked with her Australian background...

Callil loves a good fight, none more so than with herself; she is bracing about her own nature. "I was always scared, really. I was scared until I grew up. I was scared when I started Virago, I was scared when I started my book. I'm scared when I have to speak in public. I think I've just sort of gotten used to being scared, so I ignore it."

It is a book about disillusionment, personal and cultural. Callil was romantic about Australia when she first came to Britain. "Now I realise what a mistake I made. I made a really big mistake about that, I sort of fantasised about it. Because there can be scumbags anywhere. That's the summary of the situation."

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on August 28, 2007 1:29 PM.

Australian Bookcovers #79 - Poor Fellow My Country by Xavier Herbert was the previous entry in this blog.

Hazel Rowley on Christina Stead is the next entry in this blog.

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