Kate Grenville

Literary Birthday – 14 October – Kate Grenville

Happy Birthday, Kate Grenville, born 14 October 1950.

Nine Quotes

  1. Two pieces of advice: One, write out of an urge to write, not a desire to be ‘a writer’. That is, write about things that are important to you rather than things you think will ‘find a market’. Two, find some kind of paid work that will free you from the need to make a living from your writing, while giving you some time to write.
  2. A novel is a way of living in another person’s reality for a time.
  3. At twelve I wanted to be a writer because it was the only thing I was good at and loved. I was writing cliffhanger stories called things like ‘Encounter with a Bear’ and ‘Trapped by the Tide’. My first reviews were Mrs Linney at primary school praising me for my ‘interesting words’ and I think the praise went to my head.
  4. I’m a great believer in the experiential theory of writing.
  5. What I hope will happen is that I create an experience for readers in which they’re drawn into the same puzzle and exploration-without-destination as I experienced in the writing.  Writing the books for me is a way of coming to understand a little more.  I hope that readers let themselves go through a similar journey, from puzzlement or simplistic responses to something more nuanced.
  6. History for a greedy novelist like me is just one more place to pillage. What we’re after, of course, is stories, and we know that history is bulging with beauties. Having found them, we then proceed to fiddle with them to make them the way we want them to be, rather than the way they really were. We get it wrong, wilfully and knowingly. But perhaps you could say that the very flagrancy of our ‘getting it wrong’ points to the fact that all stories – even the history ‘story’ – are made.
  7. For me, fiction’s job is to take you ( by which I mean both reader and writer) out of your comfort zone into the deep space of the new.  There’s a natural resistance to that.
  8. History is a lot more than facts and fiction is a lot more than entertainment.
  9. You can’t necessarily change the way language is used, but if it becomes something you’re conscious of … that gives you a certain power over it.

Kate Grenville is an Australian author. She has published nine novels, a collection of short stories, and four books on writing. Her novels include The Secret RiverThe Lieutenant, and The Idea of Perfection. She has won the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize and the Orange Prize. Two of her novels have been made into feature films.

Source for Image


Daniellebagnato, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons

by Amanda Patterson

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Posted on: 14th October 2013