Tom Keneally Interviews

peoples_train.jpg With his new novel, The People's Train already published in Australia, and due for release in the UK in October, Tom Keneally has been interviewed in both countries.

In "The Guardian", Keneally was gave short answers to questions supplied by Rosanna Greenstreet.

What is the trait you most deplore in others?
Intolerance of people. I no doubt dislike it because I have some of it in me, but what I'm talking about is ethnic myth-making about a group, glib but deadly regurgitations of hysteric myths. Really, really hate it.
What makes you depressed?
The sins and gaucheries of the past. Then the decay of life generally.
Who would play you in the film of your life?
Bob Hoskins or Danny DeVito.
What is your favourite smell?
The sea.
What is your favourite word?

As he was in Brisbane recently for the Writers' Festival there, Keneally spoke to a gathering at the University of Queensland in an event sponsored by the Fryer Library. And there was a good reason for that. Des Houghton was there for "The Courier-Mail".

Imagine Brisbane as a Bolshevik sanctuary, a centre for revolutionary thought - a town where reds shamelessly refuse to hide under beds.

It used to be that way.

From 1910 until the Roaring Twenties, the Marxists pedalled their poisonous ideology in their own edition of Izvestia, infiltrating the unions and scrapping with police at public rallies. Brisbane was the Zurich of the southern hemisphere, a magnet for socialist exiles fleeing Russia.

Joh Bjelke-Petersen would turn in his grave.

Now, Australia's best-loved gnome, Tom Keneally, has written a historical fiction based on the life of a leading anarchist Artem Sergeiev, who made it to Brisbane.

While in Brisbane, Keneally also took time to promote his other new book, Australians: Origins to Eureka, and made some comments which would apply equally to fiction and non-fiction.
Writing was like death or like giving birth, he said. It was something you had to do alone.

"The solitude of writing can make you a little strange," Keneally added.

It was hard to shut out dark thoughts that a book might receive negative reviews.

When he was young, Keneally said he foolishly believed "the world needs this book".

When he left the priesthood after six years he felt "useless", had trouble attracting female company and found great solace in writing.

"Now writing is a transcendental joy, a sense of the wow factor, a sense you have become more than the sum of your parts," he said.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on September 21, 2009 10:04 AM.

Poem: The Poet's Luck by D.M.W. (David McKee Wright) was the previous entry in this blog.

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