The real world


I’m in Canberra at the moment on a May Gibbs Creative Time Fellowship. Canberra is a cornucopia of research resources. The National Library, the War Memorial Research Centre, the National Museum and the National Archives… the list goes on and on. For a research junkie, it’s mind-boggling how much material is so easy to access. Treasure!

It’s also an interesting place to start thinking about how the real world works. Last week I attended a conference on memoir and biography at the NLA and heard the very inspiring Margaret Reynolds talk about her life in politics. At first glance, you might think her memoir isn’t the sort of book you’d offer a teenager but I wish I’d read it when I was seventeen. It’s a book about finding your voice, about political advocacy, about how an ordinary girl from Tassie turned into an extraordinary politician who spent 16 years as a senator in the Australian government. The language is straight-forward and direct, as is the author. If we’re ever going to have a female prime minister, then teenage girls around the country should get stuck into reading books like ‘Living Politics’.

Kirsty is an Australian author of books for children and young adults.

“Books are windows into other ways of being.”

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