Tasmanian Times

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. No price is too high for the privilege of owning yourself. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche

The individual has always had to struggle to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. No price is too high for the privilege of owning yourself. ~ Friedrich Nietzsche


The Flan-Man Triumphs


Tasmanian writer Richard Flanagan has just been announced as the 2014 winner of the Man Booker Prize …

• Use the TT NEWS Dropdown Menu (top Nav Bar) for more on the Flanagan triumph, for The Narrow Road to the Deep North …

ABC: Richard Flanagan, prominent Tasmanian author, wins Man Booker Prize …

Prominent Australian author Richard Flanagan has won the prestigious Man Booker Prize.

The Tasmanian took out the 50,000-pound ($88,000) prize, which was announced at an awards ceremony in London.

Flanagan’s novel The Narrow Road to the Deep North, which tells the story of prisoners of war on the Burma railway, was one of six books short-listed for the international prize.

He becomes the first Tasmanian and third Australian to win the award.

Flanagan said last month he was astonished to be short listed.

“It’s a wonderful feeling, but it’s an overwhelming feeling too because to be a writer, you don’t expect those sort of things,” he said.

The book has struck a chord with readers in Australia, the UK and the US, and Flanagan said he regarded readers as the true test and the real judges.

“My greatest debt is to them. That’s why I write and that’s why I’ll continue to write,” he said.

“When I was first published there were no glowing reviews, there were no prizes.

“It was readers who found me and it was readers who kept buying my books and supporting me.

“It’s because of readers that I’m here now and I was able to write this book.”

The novel was inspired by Flanagan’s late father, Archie Flanagan, who survived being a POW on the Thai-Burma railway.

Read more, ABC HERE

Guardian: Man Booker prize: Richard Flanagan wins with ‘timeless depiction of war’ Australian novelist picks up award for story of prisoners and captors on Burma railway in The Narrow Road to the Deep North

Christine Milne: Congratulations to Richard Flanagan

Pete Hay, Mercury: Liberating the spirit of our island: Richard Flanagan takes Tasmania out into the world… By the time Flanagan came along, the negative shadow of the generation of the 1960s had all but expunged any sense that Tasmania’s unfolding story was one that could engage the creative imagination. Flanagan changed all that. The island, he insisted, is saturated with mythical portent. He made it legitimate to stay put; to take Tasmania for one’s creative canvas. And he, personally, took Tasmania to the world. His legacy is, I think, beyond calculation. Almost incredibly, this is the man for whom former premier Paul Lennon decreed there to be “no place” in the “new Tasmania”. The trouble with the ex-premier’s call is that it is not he but Flanagan who defines the “new Tasmania”. Nevertheless, this episode cut Flanagan to the bone — not Lennon’s attack as such, because Flanagan is as fierce as he is eloquent when it comes to the island’s muddling and spiteful politics, and he had already called out Lennon for worse than he received. If you dish it out, you have to take it when it is served back. No, what cut Flanagan was the perceived lack of outrage on the part of the Tasmanian arts community, and its literary practitioners in particular. There was no flood of indignant letters to the press, and Flanagan felt isolated, abandoned …

Tasmanian Writers’ Centre: Congratulations Richard, so well deserved!

7.30 Report: Watch the Flan-Man interviewed by Leigh Sales … as his mates party at the Hope and Anchor

Bob Ellis: ‘The World Just Is’: Richard Flanagan’s The Narrow Road To The Deep North

• Gerard Henderson executive director of The Sydney Institute: Sorry, Mike, Nazism was a secular movement — unlike today’s Islamic State

THE alienated left-intelligentsia invariably enjoys a comfortable life in Western societies.

Unable to complain with any credibility about personal oppression, members tend to express embarrassment about their society in general and/or seek to rationalise the actions of its declared enemies.

So it came as no surprise that when Tasmanian writer Richard Flanagan won the Man Booker Prize for his novel The Narrow Road to the Deep North, he re­stated his mantra: “I’m ashamed to be Australian.”

The reference was to climate policy in this instance but, in his book The Unknown Terrorist, Flanagan ex­hib­its a certain ambivalence to terrorists. Flanagan is a green-left type. He admires David Hicks (who once boasted he was “well trained for jihad”) but opposes Tony Abbott, who has committed Australian forces to support Iraq – against the Sunni Islamists of Islamic State.

On October 5, I appeared with The Saturday Paper’s Mike Seccombe plus others on the ABC’s Insiders program. Seccombe criticised the Prime Minister’s statements about Islamists.

Abbott’s comments were directed at his government’s policy of attempting to prevent radical Sunni Islamists departing Australia with the intention to kill Shia Muslims, Christians and other religious minorities in Iraq and Syria.

Seccombe’s position was that the Prime Minister exaggerated the threat of Islamic State fighters to Australia and Australians. He alleged Abbott is “clearly conflating a small handful of allegedly Islamic — but really, you know, not; they’re Islamic in the same way the Nazis were Christian, right?”.

No. Wrong on all points. Those who have joined Islamic State are avowedly Islamic. Moreover, they plan to establish a Sunni caliphate ruling in accordance with sharia law. Seccombe may claim the members of Islamic State are not Islamic but that is not how they view themselves. His approach is an attempt to distance Islam from Islamist ­extremists.

The Switch to Moral Equivalence …

Then Seccombe threw the switch to moral equivalence. Hence his line that the “Nazis were Christians”. In fact, the Nazi movement was a secular organisation that advocated paganism. An example of the Nazi mindset is provided in Robert Wistrich’s documentary Good Morning, Mr Hitler! and his book Weekend in Munich: Art, Propaganda and Terror in the Third Reich.

Wistrich’s work covers the Day of German Art festival organised by the Nazis and held in Munich in July 1939, shortly before World War II.

The festival opened on July 16, 1939. It was attended by such German leaders as Hitler, Heinrich Himmler, Robert Ley, Adolf Wagner, Joseph Goebbels and Albert Speer. The moving pictures and still footage of this event depict a pagan festival replete with Nazi secular symbols, including the pre-Christian symbol insignia of the swastika. There was no reference of any kind to Christianity.

When I mentioned to Seccombe on-air that Nazism was a secular movement, he was none too impressed. During a break in the program, while a video clip was shown, I commented that Pope Pius XI had condemned Nazi Germany in a papal encyclical in 1937. Seccombe looked at me as if I had made this up. In such discussions, a little bit of historical knowledge can be helpful.

It’s true that, in 1933, the Nazi regime signed a concordat with the Vatican. This was intended to preserve the rights of the Catholic Church under the new regime. However, once the Nazis began to establish themselves in power, they moved against the Catholic Church along with most Protestant churches.

It is well known that in 1937 Pope Pius XI condemned communism in an encyclical titled Divini Redemptoris (on atheistic communism). Not so well known is that, in the same year, Pius XI issued an encyclical titled Mit Brennender Sorge (on the condition of the church in Germany).

In Mit Brennender Sorge, released on March 14, 1937, Pius XI declared that the Nazi regime had initiated “a war of extermination” directed at Catholics. He complained especially about the regime’s attempts to close down Catholic schools along with its actions taken against Catholic Action youth movements. The Pope also hit out at Germany’s atheist rulers — accusing them of supplanting the gospel of Christ with a “myth of race and blood”.

Pius XI associated the Nazi regime with “ancient paganism” and sent his “words of gratitude and commendation” to priests who were “imprisoned in jail and concentration camps”.

What the likes of Seccombe do not understand is that the Nazi regime was in a contest with the Catholic Church and some Protestant churches for members and supporters. In the early years of the regime, what became the Hitler Youth competed with Catholic Action for members.

Then there is the allegation that Hitler was a Catholic. Writing in Fairfax Media on October 3, social commentator Hugh Mackay commented that “a mere 75 years ago, Nazi Germany had even grander territorial goals than ISIL”. He added: “Many Nazis wereChristians who believed that God was on their side: Hitler himself was a Catholic.”

Well, Hitler was baptised a Catholic — at the instigation of his parents. However, as an adult, Hitler never regarded himself as a Catholic or Christian. Rather, he was a proud atheist. This stands in stark contrast to today’s members of Islamic State, who proclaim their allegiance to Islam. Hitler’s detestation of Christianity, Catholic and Protestant alike, was ­attested to by the likes of Speer and Goebbels. In the event, the Nazi regime was destroyed by Judaeo-Christian nations.

As Joe Sharkey commented in The New York Times in January 2002, after examining some of the prosecution’s material prepared for the Nuremberg war crime trials: “Once they had total power and set off to launch a world war, the Nazis made no secret of what lay in store for Christian clergymen who expressed dissent.”

Obviously the Nazis overwhelmingly targeted Jews, not Christians. But the Nazi leaders were not Christian. The unfashionable fact is that Islamic State’s leaders are all Muslim. It’s just that alienated types such as Seccombe and Flanagan like to underestimate the intentions and beliefs of the West’s enemies.

Published in The Australian, here



  1. Kev Rothery

    October 14, 2014 at 10:36 am

    It’s nice to wake up this morning to a good news story! This is a fitting prize for the wonderful intellect and humanity of Richard Flanagan.

  2. pat synge

    October 14, 2014 at 10:38 am

    Congratulations, Richard.
    An excellent read and a worthy winner.

  3. Brenton

    October 14, 2014 at 10:38 am

    Made my day!

  4. Leonard Colquhoun

    October 14, 2014 at 12:07 pm

    Congrats, Mr Flanagan – and on such a nationally significant theme.

  5. john hayward

    October 14, 2014 at 12:36 pm

    I hope Richard isn’t buried under the congratulatory emails from Tas inc and the Abetz Party. Tony is seemingly still working on his message to Malala.

    John Hayward

  6. Alderman Eva Ruzicka

    October 14, 2014 at 12:49 pm

    Cream rises, and what a cr̬me de la cr̬me! Congratulations for displaying those most marvellous of human qualities Рpersistence in truth making Рin attempting to get it right.

  7. Dr Robert Murfet

    October 14, 2014 at 1:56 pm

    Must be the best in the world and from Tassie.

  8. Jane Rankin-Reid

    October 14, 2014 at 1:57 pm

    It is a wonderful book and it fully deserved to win! I’d love to be a fly on the wall at Paul Lennon’s house this morning.

  9. Edward Murrow

    October 14, 2014 at 2:09 pm

    And Bryan, Jane … remember how Flanagan was attacked in Parliament by (now Labor Leader) Bryan Green, as “a traitor to Tasmania”; then told by Premier Paul Lennon that he and his writing were “not welcome in the New Tasmania” …

    oh god, to be on the wall at the lennon mansion (renovated by a (ex)Gunns Ltd-related company …)

  10. Jane Rankin-Reid

    October 14, 2014 at 2:15 pm

    Mhhm, I’d forgotten Bryan’s remarks. But as he is currently the leader of the state opposition, it would be well worth getting his comments about Flanagan’s prize onto tonight’s news!

  11. Tim Thorne

    October 14, 2014 at 2:57 pm

    Congratulations! A great book by a great human being. As a fellow “un-Tasmanian” I salute you, mate.

  12. Alison Bleaney

    October 14, 2014 at 2:59 pm

    Congratulations indeed! And your book that you had to write sounds like it was the hardest write …thank you.

  13. bob hawkins

    October 14, 2014 at 5:25 pm

    Maybe our knuckleheads will treat Tasmania’s national treasure with a bit more respect from now on. That is if they have any idea what the Man Booker Prize is.

  14. Pete Godfrey

    October 14, 2014 at 7:19 pm

    Congratulations Richard, thankyou for the hard work you have done for the state and also for taking so much flak from the knuckleheads in power.

  15. peter adams

    October 14, 2014 at 7:25 pm

    I particularly liked the fact that immediately after the presentation he bagged Abbott:

  16. Garry Stannus

    October 14, 2014 at 7:47 pm

    ‘That rather fat book’
    It’s a wonderful moment for Richard Flanagan. To think that he destroyed several drafts before this final one, which has with its win confirmed the predictions, made a year ago, of a Booker prize. At that time, TT presented an essay ‘Falling Into the Sound of Water’ (by Diane Caney) which was in part an explication de texte and in other ways her own personal response to Flanagan’s novel. It is an interesting essay and I recommend that it be revisited [Here]. My own response to Richard Flanagan’s novel is among the comments on that thread.

    I am happy for this man’s achievement. It is an honour for him, for his family and for the state. I must say, that his humility is inspirational. I have heard him speak on various occasions and have understood the strong positive regard which he is accorded by the many of this island’s inhabitants. He has climbed a high mountain, while we ‘at base camp’ have been privileged to see the ascent.

    Please, listen to the LNL ABC Phillip Adams – Richard Flanagan interview – you will hear Richard Flanagan speak about his ‘Long Road’, you will hear the soft yet Australian tones of his voice, his manliness and his thoughfulness/sensitivity. This interview is a ‘must-listen’. When you’ve got a moment, sit down, and listen to this all the way through. Flanagan tells us

    “… and I’m … in fact if people listening go and see my book in a book shop … it would give them cause to ponder … to realise more people died making that railway than there are words in that rather fat book”

    – his book – ‘The Narrow Road to the Deep North’. [Interview Here]

  17. Heather Donaldson

    October 14, 2014 at 7:57 pm

    Well deserved! Well done Richard Flanagan – a truly good and humane Tasmanian!!

  18. Ted Mead

    October 14, 2014 at 8:24 pm

    Fantastic stuff mate – Congratulations !

  19. Jonathan Males

    October 14, 2014 at 8:39 pm

    Wonderful news. Richard was just interviewed live in prime time on BBC radio 4 and there are full page articles in the papers; this is big news and I hope folk in Tassy appreciate the scale of this achievement.

  20. TGC

    October 14, 2014 at 10:34 pm

    It’s a pity that in recognising the literary brilliance of Richard Flanagan- and it’s a joy to hear him speaking in interviews so careful is he with his words-some appear to suggest that those who might disagree with some of his views on certain subjects-climate, forestry as examples-are not therefore worthy of his brilliance and probably don’t recognise it.
    (Can’t imagine Richard producing a sentence that long)
    It ain’t necessarily so! Just because one sees the huge environmental benefits in a forest industry and is not so hot-under-the- collar about climate change and would have accepted a Gordon below Franklin Hydro scheme it’s entirely appropriate also to recognise brilliant writing and understand literary passion .
    Well done Richard. Man Booker was always going to be yours at some time.

  21. PhilipCocker

    October 14, 2014 at 10:39 pm

    Flantastic. We should play Fanfare for the Common Man and drink a fine Tasmanian ale in salute.

  22. Diane Caney

    October 15, 2014 at 12:21 am

    I don’t follow the AFL but I do follow Richard Flanagan, and his winning the Man Booker Prize is my version of the biggest AFL Grand Final win for this century so far! Last century it was Patrick White for Nobel Laureate from Australia, and I hope next decade we see Richard taking out that honour as well. I think his writing is exquisite – intelligent, sweeping in its scope, poetic, whimsical, politically fierce, humorous, grand, inspiring, brave, and intensely beautiful. I know he will go from strength to strength. I thought The Narrow Road to the Deep North was a mind-boggling achievement. I read it with great joy that someone from my home state could tackle such a massive interweaving of imagination and history, and create a book of dignity, purpose and beauty when it was set in the midst of such horrendous suffering. Incredible. Thank you Richard.

  23. Artemisia

    October 15, 2014 at 12:28 am

    Fantastic! And saw YOU on the 7:30 Report celebrating much, Linz!

  24. Max Edelweiss

    October 15, 2014 at 2:04 am

    Anybody remember roughly when those remarks were made? Would be fun to dredge them out of the Hansard.

  25. Diane Caney

    October 15, 2014 at 7:35 am

    Finally, the full video of Richard Flanagan’s Man Booker Prize Acceptance Speech 🙂

  26. Phil Dolan

    October 15, 2014 at 9:51 am

    I can’t imagine what Richard is feeling, because I feel over the moon. And that’s good because when I was reading it, I thought that I was there building the railway.

    A truly great author.

  27. Simon D

    October 15, 2014 at 10:30 am

    The ‘member’ for Bass Andrew Nikolic was also eager to heap praise on Richard for this extraordinary achievement in a gushing Facebook post. That is until some of his mates reminded him of Flanagan’s position on environmental matters at which point the Brigadier withdrew his congratulations and deleted the message.

    As they say in the classics- ‘what an arsehat’. ‘

  28. Leonard Colquhoun

    October 15, 2014 at 12:07 pm

    In terms of how worthy a winner Flanagan was of the Booker, what he said in his acceptance speech is mostly irrelevant. (As is most of what is spouted in most Oscar acceptance speeches.)

    It is essentially another (but this time, less negative) episode of that long-running ‘Artist-as-Arsehole’ or ‘Artist-as-Activist’ series: should opera buffs stop enjoying Wagner because of the family’s Nazi links? Should we stop being entertained by the superb quality of some stage and / or screen performances because the actors were real-life arseholes?

    It is the reverse of the (too common) literary situation where someone has written a ‘worthy’ book with a ‘worthy’ message, but which is as boring as buckets of bat poo: should writers get a ‘feel-good’ boost because they are (temporarily) on the side of the PC clever & credentialled (people who are most unlikely to ever write anything worth more than a rapid pre-binning glance)? And the reverse?

    This, irrespective of political stance, seems to be one of the inherent problems with ‘Premiers Prizes’.

  29. Dr Buck Emberg and Joan

    October 15, 2014 at 12:16 pm

    ‘The Narrow Road to the Deep North’ is certainly at the top of my list. You’ve done Tasmania proud, Richard. You were great on TV this morning Linz…and all of your cronies. We raise our glasses here in St helens too.


    October 15, 2014 at 1:25 pm

    Congratulations Richard. The news yesterday morning made my day, week, month, year. A well deserved award.

  31. Andrew Ricketts

    October 15, 2014 at 1:33 pm

    The 7.30 interview with Leigh Sales last night was marvellous. A pleasure to watch amongst the doom and gloom. Great that one of the good guys is gaining such recognition.

    It was really nice to see such a genuine and humble response. Congratulations Richard Flanagan.

    Flanagan is right: Tasmania is an “edge”. It is sad the “edge” socially and in terms of its environment would seem to not be considered a most important reality and opportunity.

  32. ajww

    October 15, 2014 at 2:52 pm

    Richard’s epic achievement even made page4 of todays Examiner under the headline “Flanagan hugs Duchess at Booker Ceremony”.I would have thought that the second prize!
    In the excitement of the moment, Richard probably considered that he had two main options : shirtfront the good Lady, or hug her. Methinks he made the better choice, all things considered.

  33. Keith Antonysen

    October 15, 2014 at 3:21 pm

    Fabulous news, congratulations Richard.

  34. peter bent

    October 15, 2014 at 3:29 pm

    strange that being the recipient of a well-deserved literary award allows Richard Flanagan to believe that his comments on Tony Abbot and anthropogenic climate change are any more worth hearing than those of the rest of us non-celebrities. Perhaps he should voice those opinions under a pseudonym.

  35. Anne Layton-Bennett

    October 15, 2014 at 4:12 pm

    Fantastic and thoroughly deserved win. Well done Richard. A great book which I read and savoured earlier this year.

    And just loved all those clips on ABC News last night showing Richard fronting No Pulp Mill rallies, and his polite but firm criticisms of our political leaders about their total failure to recognise, understand and value our unique Australian and Tasmanian environments.

    You and your fabulous writing are terrific ambassadors for Tasmania.

  36. Anderson

    October 15, 2014 at 4:18 pm

  37. peter adams

    October 15, 2014 at 4:23 pm

    Eschew obscuration, Leonard #29. We should all be immensely proud of Richard; even those people whose noses he has tweaked.

  38. T. Thekathyil

    October 15, 2014 at 5:21 pm


  39. peter bent

    October 15, 2014 at 5:36 pm

    All praise to Richard Flanagan for his award. ‘Tis a pity that he uses the platform he has so gained to promote his personal views on Tony Abbot and Climate change.

  40. Tim Thorne

    October 15, 2014 at 6:43 pm

    Peter (#35 & 40), it is not possible to separate Richard as novelist from Richard as citizen, passionate about the environment and compassionate towards his fellow humans. Read the book and you will see why. What he said at the ceremony was entirely consistent with what he wrote in the novel which got him there.

    Neither art nor artists can exist in a political or moral void.

  41. Luca Vanzino

    October 15, 2014 at 8:16 pm

    Ripper news!

    Those at posts 21, 29 and 35 should consider that art and artists challenge the norms of society – that is part of their role. Art is not necessarily decorative.

  42. Matt

    October 15, 2014 at 8:36 pm

    Aagh Peter #40 you don’t get it do you…
    The rocks hurt more when you throw them from a mountain called high moral ground.
    Well done Richard.

    Matt Afcranistan

  43. Penelope Marshall

    October 15, 2014 at 10:28 pm

    Congratulations Richard! You deserve it. Has Mr Lennon offered an olive leaf or handshake today:) Honestly what are you supposed to say, if journo’s ask the questions aren’t you entitled to give your honest opinion? (Re 40 and such.)

  44. peter adams

    October 15, 2014 at 11:22 pm

    Sorry, Peter Bent #35, 40, but Richard, not only has every right to express his personal take on Abbott, he has a responsibility to do this. Furthermore, he’s an articulate role model for us “non-celebrities” to get off our butts and do more to help create a better Tasmania.

  45. Peter Bright

    October 16, 2014 at 3:17 am

    Peter Bent at #40 says of Richard Flanagan ..

    [i]”‘Tis a pity that he uses the platform he has so gained to promote his personal views on Tony Abbot and Climate change.[/i]

    No it’s not. It is entirely appropriate and most admirable!

  46. TGC

    October 16, 2014 at 10:46 am

    #42 some do. some don’t- if artists from any genre were always ‘right’ the ‘art critics’ would be out of a job.

    In this topic there is an element that because Richard is a brilliant writer – has any post suggested otherwise- all other comments he might make must be given similar accord.

    I heard-again- Margaret Throsby’s interview with Richard Flanagan (ABC Classic FM)) and – again- greatly admired his way with words, his careful constructions- his considered thinking. But I can still take a different tack to some of his outcomes without in any way diminishing his work.

  47. Tim Thorne

    October 16, 2014 at 2:01 pm

    It’s not a question of being ‘right’ (#47), but of living and writing as a person with enthusiasm, compassion and a deep engagement with humanity. Richard has described this novel as ‘a book of love’, and nothing in his public utterances is inconsistent with this attitude.

  48. Leonard Colquhoun

    October 16, 2014 at 7:13 pm

    Re Comment 48’s “It’s a question . . . of living and writing as a person with enthusiasm, compassion and a deep engagement with humanity”: is it?

    Can’t great writers and artists do great (or, if you like, ‘great’) works minus any compassion and engagement (presumably positive) with humanity?

    Is there any necessary or inherent link between great art and great virtue?

  49. TGC

    October 16, 2014 at 7:45 pm

    #48 The assumption could be that only ‘artists’ can be persons of “enthusiasm,compassion,and a deep engagement with humanity: – whatever the latter means.
    But it can’t be those who- for example, support a pulp mill and the forest industries and are agnostic about climate change?

  50. Tim Thorne

    October 16, 2014 at 9:31 pm

    #49: This is a complex issue, and I would not want to be too hard-and-fast about it, but it would be difficult to conceive of a novel which could be considered “great” which was lacking in compassion, in the exploration of large human concerns, indeed lacking, ultimately, in love. I would be interested if you could provide examples. Beckett, perhaps?

    When it comes to other art forms the matter is less clear, but Caravaggio, Beethoven. Horace, Heaney seem to point towards an answer. There are also more problematic cases such as Pound and Barnet Newman.

    #50: Such an assumption would be ridiculous and wrong. I doubt that supporting the turning of forests into paper, however, could be considered a path towards greatness.

    If you don’t understand the concept of engagement with humanity I doubt there is much point in continuing this discussion.

  51. Max Edelweiss

    October 16, 2014 at 10:09 pm

    TGC, usually it isn’t climate change agnostic Pulp and chip proponents because frankly they show little enthusiasm for anything but raiding the treasury, little compassion for anyone else, and a deep seated goal of bringing ruin to humanity through rapaciously exploiting the only planet we have. Nobody exports woodchips for social change.

  52. peter bent

    October 17, 2014 at 12:03 am

    #41.. Of course Richard the novelist can be separated from Richard the citizen. Each plays a particular role in particular circumstances. In his role as novelist I do not expect him to comment on contemporary political players or issues of the day unless they are integral to his story.
    #44, Penelope. I don’t think he was questioned on the worth of Abbot or on the issue of climate change. His comments appeared to be gratuitous and superfluous in the context of the award. #45..PeterAdams… Richard may well be a role model but I’m not sure that his novel serves to create a better Tasmania. Thank you TGC #47, for pointing out that my comment did not diminish his work.
    The reason I cannot tolerate commercial TV is that the ad. breaks are entirely superfluous to the main worth of the subject matter – and so it seemed in Flanagan’s case. He was there to acknowledge professional recognition of his talent as a novelist – and he had to insert a couple of ad. breaks.

  53. Garry Stannus

    October 17, 2014 at 12:38 am

    I liked Pete Hay’s remarks. [Mercury, Here] It created a context, explained a few things. I read it eagerly, with enjoyment, ‘nodding’ at various bits as I progressed. It was a surprise to me that Richard Flanagan had been disappointed that there was not a flood of support (from the art world / literati) after Paul Lennon had said that Flanagan had no place in the ‘New Tasmania’. But, not being a part of that world, I did not know. Many of us were feeling unappreciated – and still do, in this ‘New Liberal Tasmania’. Lindsay’s solid support for Richard Flanagan over the years has been realised this week – I congratulate him for it, and acknowledge his judgement. Two years ago Lindsay published the following Flanagan piece [The Decline of Love and the Rise of Non-Freedom: Here]. As I re-read it, I seem to see Flanagan working his way through the elements of the novel that he was creating.

  54. Garry Stannus

    October 17, 2014 at 12:39 am

    Yet it also put me in mind of his (last year’s) [I Don’t Agree – Here] which addressed the ‘durability provisions’ in the TFAA 2013:

    At the end the only certainty and hope I have is this: I never signed up to the forest deal, not then and certainly not now. I don’t give a damn for durability clauses and special councils of loggers and conservation police. And I didn’t agree to be silenced, not by Paul Lennon, not by Gunns, and I won’t be now by The Wilderness Society and the ACF.

    We weren’t able to comment on that Flanagan piece – but Lindsay allowed a few ‘Dear Richard’ articles to be posted in reply.

    So now, at this stage of the comments thread, Tim, Leonard, TGC are in a bit of a skirmish and I’ll take the field and reply to Trevor’s #47, in which he asks

    In this topic there is an element that because Richard is a brilliant writer – has any post suggested otherwise- all other comments he might make must be given similar accord.

    and I would reply that I do so suggest “otherwise” (see my comments in the Diane Caney article thread to which I provided a link in my #17).

    Yet in spite of my own difficulty with his works, I am yet glad for his achievement. He has worked hard. Has devoted himself to writing and has now won an award which will always be there for him. Good on him. I love to hear him speak. I caught him (again) on the radio tonight. Liked what I heard. Good on him. He hit a big ‘six’, kicked a winning goal with his ‘Long Road…’ We have been fortunate to have seen him develop over the years.

  55. Ralph Wessman

    October 17, 2014 at 8:06 am

    Not sure, Peter… isn’t Richard entitled to express his opinions via whatever platform’s available as much as you’re entitled to express your own courtesy of a platform on Tasmanian Times? Où est la difference?

  56. TGC

    October 17, 2014 at 11:50 am

    #56 but each does not receive equal public coverage!

    One has a greater advantage over the other-and chooses to play to that advantage- that doesn’t have to be a criticism of doing that- but it -unlevels- the playing field.

  57. TGC

    October 17, 2014 at 11:54 am

    Don’t give in so easily #51- It is likely there are many understandings of “engagement with humanity” and in their variety there may be a dependence on the base from which such understandings spring.
    mine may not be as yours- on the other hand it may at its root but not always at its ‘branches’.
    I would be surprised if you are not able to acknowledge that.

  58. peter bent

    October 17, 2014 at 1:10 pm

    Ralph #56 Touche!

  59. Karl Stevens

    October 17, 2014 at 5:12 pm

    Another Man Booker winner Thomas Keneally said ‘It is a book full of significance, but very accessible’. Seems like a good description of Richard Flanagan as well.

  60. Tim Thorne

    October 17, 2014 at 5:13 pm

    #58, so you do have an understanding of the phrase. Good. Your implied lack of understanding was merely rhetorical. Not so good.

  61. Leonard Colquhoun

    October 17, 2014 at 6:14 pm

    How’s this for timely, with all these posts about art and Art!

    “Michelangelo did more than anyone else to create the idea of the artist as a solitary, divinely inspired individual, answerable to no one and nothing except his talent”, and

    “Michelangelo was also the first artist to have an ego so great that no amount of flattery, however gross, was sufficient”, plus

    “. . . Michelangelo’s view of himself was that no one had taught him anything. If he had had any help, it came directly from God, and not from any merely human teacher”.

    Link –


  62. Phil Dolan

    October 17, 2014 at 6:32 pm

    Some criticise because Richard speaks about things other than his novel.

    I’m going to award myself a gong for stating the bleeding obvious.

    The more famous you are, the more you get paid for advertising. Why is that?

    What has drinking a can of soda to do with playing some kind of ball game? And does said sports person get criticised for speaking about other than a ball? Of course not.

    So Richard can also state the bleeding obvious. Which is that Abbott is a person of very little understanding of how the world works and what makes a good society.

  63. Bonni Hall

    October 17, 2014 at 9:46 pm

    Since when has the playing field ever been level?

  64. TGC

    October 17, 2014 at 11:01 pm

    #63 and it must follow that you have a depressingly poor opinion of a significant majority of your fellow Australians

  65. Ben Quin

    October 17, 2014 at 11:17 pm

    I wonder how Richard’s achievement ranks with the news that Tas is on the short list for a visit from the President of China?

    What will the President’s level playing field message be?

    Gosh, what is happening to Tassie! Suddenly we are a stage to the World.

  66. Phil Dolan

    October 18, 2014 at 9:40 am

    #65. ‘significant majority’

    I question the word ‘majority’.

  67. TGC

    October 18, 2014 at 4:32 pm

    #67 Not unexpectedly.

  68. St John, Disciple

    October 20, 2014 at 5:35 pm

    Les Baker, Launceston has letter in Merc about Richard Flanagan.

    Congratulates him on winning in the category of fiction:

    “It is within this category he has so eloquently written commentary about the forest industry of Tasmania to the admiration of his learned disciples!”

    Is this the same Les Baker revealed by TT as the author of emails about the pulp and its wonderful effluent …



    Presumably, yes. So if that is who it is … the simplistic analysis is still the same … trotting out the hoary old cliche that our Mr Flanagan is a writer of fiction and his pronouncements therefore on other matters can’t be taken seriously …

    Oh god, get real …

  69. Chas Candlestickmaker

    October 20, 2014 at 6:58 pm

    Good to see Les hasn’t lost his generous spirit.

    Nor his fondness for fiction it seems.

    Les famously believed Gunns’ fictional MIS offer documents which led him to purchase 333 MIS woodlots borrowing $750k from Gunns.

    It would’ve have been better to stick with Flano?

  70. Diane Caney

    October 20, 2014 at 7:28 pm

    On this day, the day on which Gough Whitlam died, Whitlam who ended conscription and who led Australia into a wonderful new era where the cosmetic tax was lifted from the contraceptive pill … I thought we could remember the great wonder OF The Narrow Road to the Deep North.
    To help you do that I thought I’d post the URL to the review of the novel published on Tasmanian Times 🙂

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