Anna Funder Interview

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anna_funder.jpg    At the end of April Anna Funder was interviewed by Farid Farid for SBS. At the time of this interview the author's novel All That I Am had been longlisted for the Miles Franklin Award. That has since been upgraded to a shortlisting.

The idea of refuge and exile figures in nuanced ways in your latest work, how do you feel in general towards Australia's stance with its treatment of refugees in their latest waves?

I was deeply depressed and bewildered by our treatment of refugees earlier this decade - and not only refugees. The careless exile of Vivian Solon, the reckless imprisonment of Cornelia Rau, who was mentally ill. It shames me that my country allowed refugees seeking asylum here from terrible situations to be imprisoned indefinitely without trial. It made me think very differently about what it was to be Australian. I felt that horrors were happening - suicides, hunger strikes, the permanent psychological maiming of children in suburbs not far from where I lived. I think to some extent it's still going on.

The gender controversy surrounding Miles Franklin has subsided this year with seven women including yourself being nominated for the prize, how do you feel about the whole debate?

I think that the statistics speak for themselves - too few great women writers are recognized in prizes, review space and reviewing. After that, it gets more complicated - a lot more complicated. Writing really well, independently and for the long haul takes vast repositories of self-confidence, a kind of self-belief that can be hard for sane, well-socialised women to sustain. But it can be done. And, of course, great works come also from the mad and anti-social among us too.

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on May 17, 2012 9:07 PM.

2012 Ditmar Award Shortlists was the previous entry in this blog.

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