Richard Flanagan - Quotes

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In 1995, the Paul Keating Labor government commissioned an inquiry into the forcible removal of Aboriginal children. ---->>>

What supposedly bound that Commonwealth together was a mysterious shared identity - Britishness. ---->>>

If you choose to take your compass from power, in the end you find only despair. But if you look around the world you can see and touch - the everyday world that is too easily dismissed as everyday - you see largeness, generosity, hope, change for the better. It's always small, but it's real. ---->>>

In Tasmania, an island the size of Ireland whose primeval forests astonished 19th-century Europeans, an incomprehensible ecological tragedy is being played out. ---->>>

Through the 1990s, the fracturing of Tasmanian Aboriginal politics was given impetus by the ongoing corruption of a number of black organisations started under federal government programmes, with large amounts of public money being lost. ---->>>

A fictionalised memoir of my father would be a failure as a novel. ---->>>

A novel is a journey into your own soul, and you seek there to discover those things that you share with all others. ---->>>

A writer should never mark the page with their own tears. ---->>>

Among many other reforms, Australians pioneered the secret ballot and universal suffrage. ---->>>

An unskilled middle-aged man can work in the mines, and it pays well. ---->>>

As a novelist, you have to be free. Books can't be an act of filial duty. ---->>>

Companies that are terrifying to a writer are companies like Amazon. ---->>>

Generally, literary prizes are significant not for who the winner is but the discussion they create around books. ---->>>

God gets the great stories. Novelists must make do with more mundane fictions. ---->>>

History, like journalism, is ever a journey outwards, and you must report back what you find and no more. ---->>>

Horror can be contained within a book, given form and meaning. But in life, horror has no more form than it does meaning. Horror just is. ---->>>

I am an admirer of haiku, and I'm a great admirer of Japanese literature in general. ---->>>

I am the happiest writing and being with the people I love. ---->>>

I am, of course, greatly honoured to win the Booker, which is one of the great literary prizes in the world. ---->>>

I believe in the verb, not the noun - I am not a writer, but someone compelled to write. ---->>>

I come from a tiny mining town in the rainforest in an island at the end of the world. My grandparents were illiterate. ---->>>

I do not come out of a literary tradition. ---->>>

I get more optimistic as I get older. ---->>>

I grew up in a world that was clannish - old Tasmanian-Irish families with big extended families. ---->>>

I grew up very strongly with this sense of time being circular: that it constantly returned upon itself. ---->>>

I had long wanted to write a love story, and I had long - wisely, I felt - shirked the challenge because I felt it the hardest story of all to write. ---->>>

I have met Aborigines younger than me who used to hide every time anyone official came round their camp for fear of being taken away. ---->>>

I love words because you can only live one life, but in a novel, you can live a thousand: you contain multitudes. ---->>>

I never know what I am writing. The moment you know what you're writing, you're writing nothing worth reading. ---->>>

I once knew a guy that everyone called Trodon because his face looked like it had been trod on. ---->>>

I read incessantly, searching for the things that might move me. ---->>>

I was born too late and missed the dream of empire. Its shadow, the Commonwealth, coincides with my life but rarely connected with it. ---->>>

I was one of six kids; my grandmother lived with us. We had an aunt who used to have nerves, and all her kids would turn up and live with us. ---->>>

I was struck by the way Europeans see history as something neatly linear. For me, it's not that; it's not some kind of straight railway. ---->>>

I went to study at Oxford University in the 1980s on an imperial scholarship instituted by Cecil Rhodes. ---->>>

I'm a successful novelist, and I've been a lucky one, so I don't want to cry the poor mouth. Writing has never been easy. ---->>>

In all the writers I admire, the common detonator is their courage to walk naked. ---->>>

In Australia, the Man Booker is sometimes seen as something of a chicken raffle. ---->>>

In reading, you sense the divine: the things that are larger and greater and more mysterious than yourself. ---->>>

In the late 19th century, the theory that the Aborigines were an inferior race that was doomed to die out became accepted as fact. ---->>>

It may be that the carbon tax is the final chapter in the strange death of Labor Australia. ---->>>

Look at the history of literature, and you find the history of beauty on the one hand and the IOUs on the other. ---->>>

Love stories seek to demonstrate the great truth of love: that we discover eternity in a moment that dies immediately after. ---->>>

My ancestors came from Co Roscommon, transported to Van Diemen's Land for stealing food. ---->>>

My father was the first to read in his family, and he said to me that words were the first beautiful thing he ever knew. ---->>>

My father, unusually for a PoW, talked about his experiences, but he talked about them in a very limited way. ---->>>

My mother hoped I'd be a plumber. ---->>>

Of all the love stories ever published, I have - realistically - read very few. ---->>>

Shakespeare was completely fictionalising the people who were then the great celebrities of English. ---->>>

The 2007 Labor campaign was the most presidential in Australian history, with a slogan - Kevin07 - exceeded in its banality only by its success. ---->>>

The Bradshaws suggests an extraordinary civilisation that existed long before modern man reached the British Isles. ---->>>

'The Narrow Road to the Deep North' is one of the most famous books of all Japanese literature, written by the great poet Basho in 1689. ---->>>

The number of those identifying as Aborigine in Tasmania rapidly rose in the late 20th century. ---->>>

The past is there, but life is circular. I have a strong sense of the circularity of time. ---->>>

The survival of extraordinary creatures such as the giant Tasmanian freshwater crayfish - the largest in the world - is in doubt because of logging. ---->>>

There is a crisis that is not political - an epidemic of loneliness, of sadness - and we're completely unequal to dealing with it. ---->>>

There's always been something deeply disturbing about the Abbott government's attitude to women. ---->>>

Under Howard, federal government support for black Australia slowly dried up. Services were slashed, native title restricted. ---->>>

We live in a material world, not a dramatic one. And truth resides not in melodrama, but in the precise measure of material things. ---->>>

We're a migrant nation made up of people who've been torn out of other worlds, and you'd think we would have some compassion. ---->>>

When I was younger, I was full of smart things to say about all my books. ---->>>

Yep, I often lit the barbie with old drafts. ---->>>

You can spend a day in a library and feel: 'Great, I've done a day's work.' But it's only research, not writing. ---->>>

A Labor prime minister, Julia Gillard, who does believe in climate change, nevertheless advised her predecessor, Kevin Rudd, to abandon his emissions trading scheme. ---->>>

After writing a novel, what is there to say? If a novelist could say it in a maxim, they wouldn't need 120,000 words, several years and sundry characters, plots and subplots, and so on. I'd much rather listen always. ---->>>

Black Saturday reminded many Australians of what they know only too well: that of all the advanced economies, Australia is perhaps the one most vulnerable to climate change. ---->>>

Everything about The Bradshaws is controversial, fluid, uncertain: their age - perhaps 30,000 years old, perhaps older, perhaps more recent - who painted them, what they mean. ---->>>

Family matters, friends matter, love matters. Those you love and who love you matter. That's what writing does - it allows you to say all those things. ---->>>

For much of the latter part of the 20th century, Australia seemed to be opening up to something large and good. It believed itself a generous country, the land of the 'fair go.' ---->>>

I hate the way my life has been inexplicably overwhelmed by questionnaires. Life is so much stranger and so much more beautiful than the lists that reduce it to an anorexic assembly of tics and obsessions. ---->>>

I love all forms of music. I even like music I dislike, because the music you dislike is like going to a strange country, and it forces you to rethink everything and to appreciate its particular joys. ---->>>

I realised that if I wished to write about the dark and not allow for hope, people would recognise it as false - because hope is the nub of what we are. ---->>>

I said in my acceptance speech that I hope that readers remember this not as the year I won the Booker, but the year that there were six extraordinary books on the shortlist. ---->>>

I think all novels are contemporary. When people went to see 'Antony-Cleopatra' at the Globe in the 16th century, they were not going to get a history lesson on the Roman Empire. It was about love, sex, and also about dynastic troubles. ---->>>

I think if 'The Narrow Road To The Deep North' is one of the high points of Japanese culture, then the experience of my father, who was a slave laborer on the Death Railway, represents one of its low points. ---->>>

If 30 Australians drowned in Sydney Harbour, it would be a national tragedy. But when 30 or more refugees drown off the Australian coast, it is a political question. ---->>>

If war illuminates love, love offers the possibility of allowing some light to be brought back out of the shadows. It's almost as if they buttress and make possible an understanding of each other. ---->>>

John Howard, willing to apologise to home owners for rising interest rates, would not say sorry to Aborigines. He refused to condone what he referred to as 'a black armband version' of history, preferring a jingoistic nationalism. ---->>>

Logging is an industry driven solely by greed. It prospers with government support and subsidies, and it is accelerating its rate of destruction, so that Tasmania is now the largest hardwood chip exporter in the world. ---->>>

My father was a Japanese prisoner of war, a survivor of the Thai-Burma Death Railway, built by a quarter of a million slave labourers in 1943. Between 100,000 and 200,000 died. ---->>>

My secret skill is baking bread. My mother was a farmer's daughter and still made bread every day when I was a child. She would have me knead the dough when I got home from school. ---->>>

Nothing seemed to offer more striking proof to the late Victorian mind of the infernal truth of social Darwinism than the supposed demise of the Tasmanian Aborigines. ---->>>

Perhaps the virtue of coming from a place like Tasmania is that you had the great gift of knowing that you were not the centre of things, yet life was no less where you were. ---->>>

Rainer Maria Rilke was admittedly not a Dockers tagger, but a sort of European equivalent: a German poet - in many respects, a charlatan masquerading as a genius who turned out to be a genius. ---->>>

Since woodchipping began 32 years ago, Tasmanians have watched as one extraordinary place after another has been sacrificed. Beautiful places, holy places, lost not only to them, but forever. ---->>>

'The Bradshaws' is the appropriately inappropriate English title given to an enigma - some hundreds of thousands of mysterious rock art paintings scattered through the wilds of the Kimberley, an area larger than Germany in the remote, scarcely populated northwest of Australia. ---->>>

The idea of some people being less than people is poison to any society and needs to be named as such in order to halt its spread before it turns the soul of a society septic. ---->>>

The only accusation of Gillian Triggs with the ring of truth is that she has lost the confidence of the government - but then, so too has Tony Abbott. ---->>>

The problem with making movies is that you have to devote so much of your life to fawning and flattering the men in suits, whereas that doesn't happen in books. You just go and write, and then the book comes out. ---->>>

Through my youth, there was imposed on us a culture relentlessly English. English books were all you could buy; English television filled our screens, and in consequence, England seemed to matter in a way that our world didn't. ---->>>

Under Malcolm Fraser's Liberal governments in the 1970s, large numbers of refugees fleeing Vietnam in wretched boats were taken in without any great fuss. ---->>>

Unlike some mainland black groups, Tasmanian Aborigines now have no traditional tribal culture left. It was taken from them with great violence and great rapidity. ---->>>

War stories deal in death. War illuminates love, while love is the greatest expression of hope, without which any story rings untrue to life. And to deny hope in a story about such darkness is to create false art. ---->>>

We like love - we love love - but perhaps its only meaning lies in its ubiquitous meaninglessness. We apprehend it, we feel it, and we think we know it, yet we cannot say what we mean by it. ---->>>

What is missed when people talk about books is the moment of grace when the reader creates the book, lends it the authority of their life and soul. The books I love are me, have become me. ---->>>

Within white Australia, there was a growing movement for what was known as reconciliation - a movement that peaked with millions marching in 2000 to demand the government say sorry for past injustices. ---->>>

Writing my novel 'The Narrow Road to the Deep North,' I came to conclude that great crimes like the Death Railway did not begin with the first beating or murder on that grim line of horror in 1943. ---->>>

You can be very successful but still struggling financially, and it looked like I'd have to take a year or two off and find whatever menial labouring work you can get as a middle-aged, unskilled bald man. ---->>>

Biography

Nationality: Australian
Born: 06-21, 1961
Birthplace: Longford, Tasmania, Australia
Die:
Occupation: Novelist
Website:

Richard Miller Flanagan (born 1961) is an Australian novelist from Tasmania. "Considered by many to be the finest Australian novelist of his generation", according to The Economist, each of his novels has attracted major praise and received numerous awards and honours. He also has written and directed feature films (wikipedia)