author of The Dressmaker,
Ten Terrifying Questions
1. To begin with why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself – where were you born? Raised? Schooled?
Ah, where to begin. Born in England and on one count (mine) went to 14 schools. My mum maintained that was an exaggeration. She said it was twelve.
2. What did you want to be when you were twelve , eighteen and thirty? And why?
At 12, an archaeologist: When I was twelve we lived in Cyprus. The past is so present there and I used to feel, in some ancient places of human settlement, that if I just held out my hand and closed my eyes, it would be grasped by someone who’d once lived in that place. I still like to dig, by the way. Something very satisfying about turning up an old bottle, or a buckle, in a garden bed. Research is like digging in rich black soil I think.
At 18, a singer: As to the second, at eighteen I was lucky enough to get a Commonwealth Scholarship to go to University (in Adelaide) however I’d been singing with a local band around town and, unexpectedly, talent spotters came to town. I was asked to audition and they offered me the chance to become a professional singer with a group they were putting together. An agonizing choice! However, in the end, I opted to go to Flinders (Drama, English, Fine Arts) and… turned out, being naïve saved me. The project I so hankered after didn’t actually happen (I knew nothing about how the music industry worked – just believed what people told me) so I got over my broken heart and plunged into another world.
At 30, I wanted to rule the world: I was an assistant editor and hating the drudgery. I also thought, arrogantly, that if I was just given a chance I could… rule the (entertainment) world. Well, had a bit of a go. Went and played with fire and just got a rosy glow in the end; only a bit scorched, not disastrously burned.
3. What strongly held belief did you have at eighteen that you do not have now?
That the nature of art is absolute ie. that some created objects/works, in all cultures, at all times, will be recognized as great. I’m a Continue reading