The art of being lost…
Please treat me gently. I am a digital debutante. This is my first venture into the cybersphere, and if that’s not the right word, or not a word at all, it goes to show just how new to it all I am.
I am a novelist, an essayist, a columnist, a lecturer, a speaker, a broadcaster, a one-time tv critic, a long-time art critic, a sometime restaurant critic, and an Honorary Australian of the Year. I wrote my first novel when I was forty, so that makes me a late-starter as well. That novel was called Coming From Behind which tells you something about the way my protagonists feel about themselves. Failure is, for me, the most delicious and rewarding of subjects. Failure is the stuff of comedy, which might be why I have twice won the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Award for comic writing. Since that is the only prize that recognizes books that make readers laugh and to date no one else has won it twice, I wonder if that entitles me to think of myself as the best comic writer in Britain. That isn’t boasting. I don’t like being called a comic writer. In 2010 I won the Booker Prize for The Finkler Question which would have elevated my reputation as a serious and even tragic novelist had The Finkler Question not been described as the first comic novel to win The Booker Prize.
So, like it or not, I’m saddled with the reputation of being someone who makes readers laugh, which is all right so long as I do. When I don’t there’s hell to pay. No one ever forgives a comic writer who doesn’t even make them smile.
So how will this work for now?
As a writer I embrace uncertainty, and as a reader I embrace writers who ask nothing but my company as they climb that huge ill on which truth stands. So long as there’s light and laughter on the way, it doesn’t matter that the summit will always be out of reach.
What you’ll find here are tall stories, essays, musings, embarrassments, lucubrations - isn’t that a lovely word? - scraps of memoir and meditation, most of them new, but some that have been waiting for the right time to get a second hearing.
There will be three types of membership to Streetwalking.
For now, free subscribers will get a couple of pieces every month (could be essays, could be meanderings) plus the ability to occasionally comment .
Paid subscribers will receive further reports from the front line of an unadventurous life, on such subjects as love, language, literature, Australia, food, plus extracts, if all goes well, from a larger fictional work in progress.
You will get all of the above, plus my undying gratitude.