Drewe makes literary history

Northern Rivers writer Robert Drewe.
Northern Rivers writer Robert Drewe.

THE 'solitary business' of writing has once again drawn Northern Rivers author Robert Drewe into the limelight.

Mr Drewe is one of only 300 Australians whose work has been selected for inclusion in the Anthology of Australian Literature, which was released on Friday.

The anthology, six years in the making, covers the spectrum of Australian writing since white settlement, from the first Aboriginal writing in English and Ned Kelly's 'Jerilderie Letter', to the lyrics of songs by the likes of Nick Cave and Archie Roach.

Mr Drewe, who moved to the Bangalow hinterland five years ago, is a regular speaker at the Byron Bay Writers Festival.

He was honoured to be included in the anthology. “It's always pleasing to get some acknowledgement for your writing because it's a pretty solitary business,” he said.

“I have no idea why the editors chose The Shark Net ahead of my dozen or so other books. Perhaps because it's more public than the others. It's on Year 12 and university reading lists and it was an ABC and BBC TV mini-series.

“I guess they thought The Shark Net encapsulated Australian life in some way worth recording. I wouldn't say it's my most imaginative work, but it's certainly heartfelt, being a memoir. Obviously it has a personal importance for me. So much so I'm writing a sequel at the moment.”

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