Thursday, July 24, 2008

Recapturing one's lost youth

There was no such controversy about this year’s Miles Franklin pick (or at least there wasn’t at the time I was writing this!), but isn’t it telling that the winning book’s publisher admitted that sales of the winner’s books to date have been ‘modest’—despite his being shortlisted for the Miles three times and winning a regional award in this year’s Commonwealth Writers’ Prize. Let’s hope that finally winning ‘the big one’ sees Steven Carroll rewarded for many years of lonely work. Carroll’s own plans are quite modest: he plans to spend some of the $42,000 prizemoney on something called a Rickenbacker (which my nephew tells me is a brand of electric guitar, once favoured by The Beatles: at least I’ve heard of them!). Carroll told the papers that he traded-in his beloved guitar for an electric typewriter to kick-start his writing career 30 years ago. ‘It was one of these pivotal moments, life-defining moments, it’s got a real sadness to it,’ Carroll said. ‘You can’t buy your youth but you can buy back your Rickenbacker.’

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