Christina Stead, Henry Handel Richardson, Clive James, Germiane Greer

by |January 26, 2010

Bring Back the Cultural Cringe

The cultural cringe served a purpose, it caused the best and brightest to look outwards beyond the Australian Coastline to a world of complexity, of difference, of foreign ideas, foreign questions and answers and of universal solutions. Since the demise of the cringe self-complacency has stifled our endeavours. Our benchmark is ourselves. Our history is confined to this island, oh, and the tiny stretch of Turkey, known as Gallipoli. There was a moment in recent times, more than ten years ago now, when I believed Australia would take a leading role in the development of a Global Community but that was not to be.

We are not an ignorant nation. We travel. We read. We follow, through various, sometimes dubious, means, politics and engage in it. We have a confident voice when expressing our views.

Once we looked out to sea for signs of ships bringing news from the mother country. We are our own mother country now. Yet we still love to sit on the beach and look out to sea. Let’s not stop looking out to sea. Mentally we are turning, some have turned, inwards. There is no inland sea, just dust and heat. Let’s not turn in completely.

On Australia Day I’d like to celebrate the Global Australians: some of our finest writers, who found in the surrounding seas no impediment to their personal patriotism – Christina Stead, Henry Handel Richardson, Frederic Manning, George Johnston, Hal Porter, Patrick White, Germaine Greer, Clive James, Robert Hughes, Peter Carey and Frank Moorhouse… to name but a few…

Advance Australia Fair!

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About the Contributor

John Purcell (aka Natasha Walker) is the author of The Secret Lives of Emma trilogy published by Random House Australia. The Secret Lives of Emma: Beginnings reached the top ten on the Australian fiction charts and Natasha/John was the tenth highest selling Australian novelist and third highest selling Australian debut author in 2012. The trilogy has since sold over 50,000 copies in print and ebook and has been translated into French, Korean and Polish. John has worked in the book industry for over twenty-five years. While still in his twenties he opened John’s Bookshop, a second-hand bookshop in Mosman in which he sat for ten years reading, ranting and writing. Now he is the Director of Books at

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