David’s visit to both first and third years was a wonderful experience for us all. David’s generosity in sharing his ideas about his novel RANSOM with third years and REMEMBERING BABYLON with first years brought new insights into both novels and into the writing experience itself. Students were somewhat amazed by David’s declaration that “I have never read my own novels” by which he was announcing that he did not really want to be part of the process of analysis that goes with the study of, rather than the creation of literature. Nevertheless he did give powerful insights into what was in his mind as he set out to write both of these novels and provided new strategies for appreciation and understanding. Another rather challenging comment he made was that essentially “I am not interested in publication”. So where does that put all the aspiring young writers seeking publication??? Malouf clearly sees his art as very personal, even private, a means of exploring and understanding aspects of his own and of other’s experience. Certainly for us as readers his novels provide an extraordinary means of deepening our own understanding of what we need as human beings and what we lack. Whether it is Jock McIvor in BABYLON or Priam in RANSOM, these characters discover -through David’s illuminating, exploratory prose- ways of Being that are entirely new to them… and maybe to us as well.
David Malouf has only just won the 2010 Australian Literary Society’s Gold Medal for Ransom http://anzlitlovers.wordpress.com/2010/07/29/david-malouf-wins-the-als-gold-medal/ and he is now off to Greece where he is about to pick up a major prize for this novel handed out (I think) by the Greek Government, in honour of an author who has added such a new dimension to an ancient Greek poem (The Iliad). We all wish David well in his travels.
Thank you David.
Students lining up for signatures….. David signed his name 211 times on his visit this time…. and incidentally this is the 6th time he has visited ACU campus to lecture to students.