Inspired by seminal African-American writers like James Baldwin, Alice Walker and Te-Nahasi Coates, Grant uses the Adam Goodes saga, along with his own experiences as a proud Wiradjuri man, to shine a light on the dark corners of racial intolerance in Australian society. The early days of oppression, what they’ve led to, and where we go from here.
Stan Grant grew up in country NSW in Aboriginal missions, under the cloud of simmering racial tensions. He writes of hiding from the welfare man, of being subjected to special ‘inspections’ from members of the school board, of being bullied as a child in the playground with books and sport his only means to escape, and of a father who still shakes at the sound of a police siren.
Grant’s greatest achievement, however, is the space he creates for the reader to engage with his writing. With every point made he encourages the reader to counter. He is a passionate writer, talking to us, but never lecturing.
Talking to My Country isn’t a memoir or a seething rant. It is a frank, powerful discussion about the greatest challenge Australia faces today.
And it is, without a doubt, the book that every Australian should read in 2016.
Andrew Cattanach is a regular contributor to The Booktopia Blog and was shortlisted for The Age Short Story Prize. He enjoys reading, writing and sleeping, though finds it difficult to do them all at once.
You can follow his ramblings on twitter at @andrew__cat
Talking to My Country
by Stan Grant
An extraordinarily powerful and personal meditation on race, culture and national identity.
In July 2015, as the debate over Adam Goodes being booed at AFL games raged and got ever more heated and ugly, Stan Grant wrote a short but powerful piece for The Guardian that went viral, not only in Australia but right around the world, shared over 100,000 times on social media. His was a personal, passionate and powerful response to racism in Australian and the sorrow, shame, anger and hardship of being an indigenous man. ‘We are the detritus of the brutality of the Australian frontier’, he wrote, ‘We remained a reminder of what was lost, what was taken, what was destroyed to scaffold the building of this nation’s prosperity.’
Stan Grant was lucky enough to find an escape route, making his way through education to become one of our leading journalists. He also spent many years outside Australia, working in Asia, the Middle East, Europe and Africa, a time that liberated him and gave him a unique perspective on Australia. This is his very personal meditation on what it means to be Australian, what it means to be indigenous, and what racism really means in this country.
Talking to My Country is that rare and special book that talks to every Australian about their country – what it is, and what it could be. It is not just about race, or about indigenous people but all of us, our shared identity. Direct, honest and forthright, Stan is talking to us all. He might not have all the answers but he wants us to keep on asking the question: how can we be better?
About the Author
Stan Grant is the International Editor at SKY NEWS. From 2001 to 2012 he worked for CNN as an anchor in Hong Kong, before relocating to Beijing as correspondent. As a journalist, he has covered some of the world’s biggest news events. He has received a string of prestigious international awards. He is the author of The Tears of Strangers.
About the Contributor
Andrew Cattanach is a regular contributor to The Booktopia Blog. He has been shortlisted for The Age Short Story Prize and was named a finalist for the 2015 Young Bookseller of the Year Award. He enjoys reading, writing and sleeping, though finds it difficult to do them all at once.
Follow Andrew: Twitter