Pic by Matthew Newton, http://matthewnewton.com.au/Commercial/People/1/
About an hour from its capital, Hobart, to Kettering, and then ferry across a narrow bay, you will arrive at the small, green, and very lush island of Bruny. It’s home to just a few hundred people. Richard Flanagan, the novelist, spends much of his time there, writing in his “shack.” The Internet connection is appalling, but Flanagan likes it that way. He takes breaks on the water, often in a kayak. When he spends long stretches of time there, Flanagan’s wife and daughters, with whom he lives in Hobart, sometimes visit.
“There are no distractions; in the end all that stands between me and writing the book I wish to write is my own mediocrity and complete lack of talent,” he says. This is, of course, very much not true: his most recent novel, “The Narrow Road to the Deep North,” brought him the 2014 Man Booker Prize for Fiction. Joel Tozer, an Australian video producer, and Daniel Hartley-Allen, an Australian cinematographer, toured the Bruny shack and spoke to Flanagan about drifting in and out of the world of the novel.
• Jason Steger, Bookmarks, The Age:
Man Booker judging panel chairman A.C. Grayling has defended Richard Flanagan’s winning novel, The Narrow Road to the Deep North. after poet and critic Michael Hofmann gave it a savaging in The London Review of Books.
Hofmann, who is also translator of Australian novelist Joseph Roth, one of Flanagan’s favourites, said the Booker winner was “all bite and no chew”.
Now Grayling has hit back, suggesting the review was written “on a bad haemorrhoid day ... either Hofmann cannot read, or he has such a narrow and fantastical notion of what a novel should be that he is unable to see quality when it hits him in the face.
“I plump for the former, as witness the very passages he cites in attempted condemnation: one would fail a first-year for missing the point so comprehensively,”
The chances are Michael Williams will be asking Flanagan about all this when he interviews him at the Wheeler Centre on February 19.