I had thought Kate Grenville was backing off a little from her claims that novelists are somehow able to write more authentic history than historians. Or perhaps she didn’t mean it quite that forcefully.
Clearly that was not the case.
Shortlisted, along with several other writers of historical fiction, for the Miles Franklin Award (which I admit has never quite recovered its lustre after the Demidenko debacle), she had this to say:
“There’s a sense that a cupboard has been opened in the last 20 years that was always closed before in Australian history. We built a big, beautiful armoire and put the uncomfortable parts of our history in there.
“Bit by bit, door by door, the cupboard is being opened. Lawyers and historians have played their part and now the novelists are moving in.”
Them’s fightin’ words!
I wonder what Robert Hughes (Fatal Shore) or even Alan Moorehead (Fatal Impact) would think of being dismissed so lightly? Not to mention novelists from Marcus Clarke (For the Term of his Natural Life) or poets like Judith Wright (everything).