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17 May 2012

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Nice one, Phil.

We heard Drusilla speak last Thursday during the first day of three we spent with friends at the Sydney Writers' Festival. The forum at which she spoke was moderated by Gail Jones and the auditorium was packed.

During question time I posed one myself. As Drusilla's book contains many authoritative and strong PNG women, I asked her had she considered modelling any on Moresby's outspoken 70s advocate for Papuan secession: Josephine Abaijah.

To my surprise and no doubt to the surprise of many of the old 'Moresby mafia' present, she said she had considered Josephine's career as a backgrounder for one of her characters.

The character survived a few early cuts and editings, but by the time the finished book was ready the Josephine-type persona had remained on the cutting room floor. Drusilla said she was still sorry she wasn't able to include this person in the novel.

Drusilla enlarged on the Abaijah story for those people in the audience unfamiliar with the politics and machinations of pre-self government and pre-Independence PNG, especially in the Moresby and Central Province area.

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