EMINENT Australian author Drusilla Modjeska is lecturing on Randolph Stow’s great Papua New Guinea novel, Visitants, at Sydney University on Monday.
Drusilla says that it remains, after all these years, the great Australian novel on PNG.
“No contest,” she asserts.
Visitants has been described as underrated. To which the retort has been that’s an understatement.
The novel, which was published in 1979, is set in the Trobriand Islands and, in Drusilla’s view, remains unsurpassed in outsider fiction of Australia’s “complex near-neighbour, PNG.
“Each time I read it, I admire it more," she says.
Drusilla Modjeska has won her stripes in Australian literature.
Her Poppy (1990), a ‘fictional biography’ of her mother, won the NSW Premier’s Douglas Stewart Prize for Non-Fiction.
The Orchard (1994) won the same award as well as the Nita Kibble literary award.
Her latest book, The Mountain (2012), a novel set in PNG, was short listed for the Miles Franklin Award.
Reading Australian Literature, in which Drusilla is featuring on Monday, is a series of public lectures in which acclaimed Australian writers reflect on the Australian books they value.
The writers discuss their favourite Australian literary text, what led them to it and what they find remarkable about it.
If you’re in Sydney or nearby, try to catch Drusilla Modjeska talking about Randolph Stow’s great PNG novel Visitants.
The lecture is at Sydney University, Monday 1 September, in the Law School foyer starting at 6:00 pm.