Top 98 Richard Flanagan Quotes of 2020

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“We’re a migrant nation made up of people who’ve been torn out of other worlds, and you’d think we would have some compassion.”

― Richard Flanagan

“We live in a material world, not a dramatic one. And truth resides not in melodrama, but in the precise measure of material things.”

― Richard Flanagan

“Since woodchipping began 32 years ago, Tasmanians have watched as one extraordinary place after another has been sacrificed. Beautiful places, holy places, lost not only to them, but forever.”

― Richard Flanagan

“I am an admirer of haiku, and I’m a great admirer of Japanese literature in general.”

― Richard Flanagan

“If 30 Australians drowned in Sydney Harbour, it would be a national tragedy. But when 30 or more refugees drown off the Australian coast, it is a political question.”

― Richard Flanagan

“Yep, I often lit the barbie with old drafts.”

― Richard Flanagan

“If you choose to take your compass from power, in the end you find only despair. But if you look around the world you can see and touch – the everyday world that is too easily dismissed as everyday – you see largeness, generosity, hope, change for the better. It’s always small, but it’s real.”

― Richard Flanagan

“My ancestors came from Co Roscommon, transported to Van Diemen’s Land for stealing food.”

― Richard Flanagan

“’The Bradshaws’ is the appropriately inappropriate English title given to an enigma – some hundreds of thousands of mysterious rock art paintings scattered through the wilds of the Kimberley, an area larger than Germany in the remote, scarcely populated northwest of Australia.”

― Richard Flanagan

“Family matters, friends matter, love matters. Those you love and who love you matter. That’s what writing does – it allows you to say all those things.”

― Richard Flanagan

“The past is there, but life is circular. I have a strong sense of the circularity of time.”

― Richard Flanagan

“I love words because you can only live one life, but in a novel, you can live a thousand: you contain multitudes.”

― Richard Flanagan

“War stories deal in death. War illuminates love, while love is the greatest expression of hope, without which any story rings untrue to life. And to deny hope in a story about such darkness is to create false art.”

― Richard Flanagan

“The 2007 Labor campaign was the most presidential in Australian history, with a slogan – Kevin07 – exceeded in its banality only by its success.”

― Richard Flanagan

“What supposedly bound that Commonwealth together was a mysterious shared identity – Britishness.”

― Richard Flanagan

“Through the 1990s, the fracturing of Tasmanian Aboriginal politics was given impetus by the ongoing corruption of a number of black organisations started under federal government programmes, with large amounts of public money being lost.”

― Richard Flanagan

“The only accusation of Gillian Triggs with the ring of truth is that she has lost the confidence of the government – but then, so too has Tony Abbott.”

― Richard Flanagan

“The problem with making movies is that you have to devote so much of your life to fawning and flattering the men in suits, whereas that doesn’t happen in books. You just go and write, and then the book comes out.”

― Richard Flanagan

“Rainer Maria Rilke was admittedly not a Dockers tagger, but a sort of European equivalent: a German poet – in many respects, a charlatan masquerading as a genius who turned out to be a genius.”

― Richard Flanagan

“I realised that if I wished to write about the dark and not allow for hope, people would recognise it as false – because hope is the nub of what we are.”

― Richard Flanagan

“I get more optimistic as I get older.”

― Richard Flanagan

“I do not come out of a literary tradition.”

― Richard Flanagan

“I come from a tiny mining town in the rainforest in an island at the end of the world. My grandparents were illiterate.”

― Richard Flanagan

“You can be very successful but still struggling financially, and it looked like I’d have to take a year or two off and find whatever menial labouring work you can get as a middle-aged, unskilled bald man.”

― Richard Flanagan

“If war illuminates love, love offers the possibility of allowing some light to be brought back out of the shadows. It’s almost as if they buttress and make possible an understanding of each other.”

― Richard Flanagan

“When I was younger, I was full of smart things to say about all my books.”

― Richard Flanagan

“God gets the great stories. Novelists must make do with more mundane fictions.”

― Richard Flanagan

“I once knew a guy that everyone called Trodon because his face looked like it had been trod on.”

― Richard Flanagan

“After writing a novel, what is there to say? If a novelist could say it in a maxim, they wouldn’t need 120,000 words, several years and sundry characters, plots and subplots, and so on. I’d much rather listen always.”

― Richard Flanagan

“An unskilled middle-aged man can work in the mines, and it pays well.”

― Richard Flanagan

“Look at the history of literature, and you find the history of beauty on the one hand and the IOUs on the other.”

― Richard Flanagan

“I’m a successful novelist, and I’ve been a lucky one, so I don’t want to cry the poor mouth. Writing has never been easy.”

― Richard Flanagan

“I grew up very strongly with this sense of time being circular: that it constantly returned upon itself.”

― Richard Flanagan

“My father was the first to read in his family, and he said to me that words were the first beautiful thing he ever knew.”

― Richard Flanagan

“I think if ‘The Narrow Road To The Deep North’ is one of the high points of Japanese culture, then the experience of my father, who was a slave laborer on the Death Railway, represents one of its low points.”

― Richard Flanagan

“Companies that are terrifying to a writer are companies like Amazon.”

― Richard Flanagan

“I believe in the verb, not the noun – I am not a writer, but someone compelled to write.”

― Richard Flanagan

“I never know what I am writing. The moment you know what you’re writing, you’re writing nothing worth reading.”

― Richard Flanagan

“I read incessantly, searching for the things that might move me.”

― Richard Flanagan

“What is missed when people talk about books is the moment of grace when the reader creates the book, lends it the authority of their life and soul. The books I love are me, have become me.”

― Richard Flanagan

“In all the writers I admire, the common detonator is their courage to walk naked.”

― Richard Flanagan

“A writer should never mark the page with their own tears.”

― Richard Flanagan

“A fictionalised memoir of my father would be a failure as a novel.”

― Richard Flanagan

“There is a crisis that is not political – an epidemic of loneliness, of sadness – and we’re completely unequal to dealing with it.”

― Richard Flanagan

“I grew up in a world that was clannish – old Tasmanian-Irish families with big extended families.”

― Richard Flanagan

“I was one of six kids; my grandmother lived with us. We had an aunt who used to have nerves, and all her kids would turn up and live with us.”

― Richard Flanagan

“As a novelist, you have to be free. Books can’t be an act of filial duty.”

― Richard Flanagan

“There’s always been something deeply disturbing about the Abbott government’s attitude to women.”

― Richard Flanagan

“Writing my novel ‘The Narrow Road to the Deep North,’ I came to conclude that great crimes like the Death Railway did not begin with the first beating or murder on that grim line of horror in 1943.”

― Richard Flanagan

“The idea of some people being less than people is poison to any society and needs to be named as such in order to halt its spread before it turns the soul of a society septic.”

― Richard Flanagan

“’The Narrow Road to the Deep North’ is one of the most famous books of all Japanese literature, written by the great poet Basho in 1689.”

― Richard Flanagan

“My father was a Japanese prisoner of war, a survivor of the Thai-Burma Death Railway, built by a quarter of a million slave labourers in 1943. Between 100,000 and 200,000 died.”

― Richard Flanagan

“Love stories seek to demonstrate the great truth of love: that we discover eternity in a moment that dies immediately after.”

― Richard Flanagan

“Of all the love stories ever published, I have – realistically – read very few.”

― Richard Flanagan

“We like love – we love love – but perhaps its only meaning lies in its ubiquitous meaninglessness. We apprehend it, we feel it, and we think we know it, yet we cannot say what we mean by it.”

― Richard Flanagan

“I had long wanted to write a love story, and I had long – wisely, I felt – shirked the challenge because I felt it the hardest story of all to write.”

― Richard Flanagan

“The Bradshaws suggests an extraordinary civilisation that existed long before modern man reached the British Isles.”

― Richard Flanagan

“Everything about The Bradshaws is controversial, fluid, uncertain: their age – perhaps 30,000 years old, perhaps older, perhaps more recent – who painted them, what they mean.”

― Richard Flanagan

“Black Saturday reminded many Australians of what they know only too well: that of all the advanced economies, Australia is perhaps the one most vulnerable to climate change.”

― Richard Flanagan

“A Labor prime minister, Julia Gillard, who does believe in climate change, nevertheless advised her predecessor, Kevin Rudd, to abandon his emissions trading scheme.”

― Richard Flanagan

“It may be that the carbon tax is the final chapter in the strange death of Labor Australia.”

― Richard Flanagan

“Among many other reforms, Australians pioneered the secret ballot and universal suffrage.”

― Richard Flanagan

“Under Malcolm Fraser’s Liberal governments in the 1970s, large numbers of refugees fleeing Vietnam in wretched boats were taken in without any great fuss.”

― Richard Flanagan

“For much of the latter part of the 20th century, Australia seemed to be opening up to something large and good. It believed itself a generous country, the land of the ‘fair go.’”

― Richard Flanagan

“In the late 19th century, the theory that the Aborigines were an inferior race that was doomed to die out became accepted as fact.”

― Richard Flanagan

“In 1995, the Paul Keating Labor government commissioned an inquiry into the forcible removal of Aboriginal children.”

― Richard Flanagan

“John Howard, willing to apologise to home owners for rising interest rates, would not say sorry to Aborigines. He refused to condone what he referred to as ‘a black armband version’ of history, preferring a jingoistic nationalism.”

― Richard Flanagan

“I have met Aborigines younger than me who used to hide every time anyone official came round their camp for fear of being taken away.”

― Richard Flanagan

“I was born too late and missed the dream of empire. Its shadow, the Commonwealth, coincides with my life but rarely connected with it.”

― Richard Flanagan

“Through my youth, there was imposed on us a culture relentlessly English. English books were all you could buy; English television filled our screens, and in consequence, England seemed to matter in a way that our world didn’t.”

― Richard Flanagan

“I went to study at Oxford University in the 1980s on an imperial scholarship instituted by Cecil Rhodes.”

― Richard Flanagan

“Nothing seemed to offer more striking proof to the late Victorian mind of the infernal truth of social Darwinism than the supposed demise of the Tasmanian Aborigines.”

― Richard Flanagan

“The number of those identifying as Aborigine in Tasmania rapidly rose in the late 20th century.”

― Richard Flanagan

“Unlike some mainland black groups, Tasmanian Aborigines now have no traditional tribal culture left. It was taken from them with great violence and great rapidity.”

― Richard Flanagan

“In Tasmania, an island the size of Ireland whose primeval forests astonished 19th-century Europeans, an incomprehensible ecological tragedy is being played out.”

― Richard Flanagan

“The survival of extraordinary creatures such as the giant Tasmanian freshwater crayfish – the largest in the world – is in doubt because of logging.”

― Richard Flanagan

“Logging is an industry driven solely by greed. It prospers with government support and subsidies, and it is accelerating its rate of destruction, so that Tasmania is now the largest hardwood chip exporter in the world.”

― Richard Flanagan

“Within white Australia, there was a growing movement for what was known as reconciliation – a movement that peaked with millions marching in 2000 to demand the government say sorry for past injustices.”

― Richard Flanagan

“Under Howard, federal government support for black Australia slowly dried up. Services were slashed, native title restricted.”

― Richard Flanagan

“History, like journalism, is ever a journey outwards, and you must report back what you find and no more.”

― Richard Flanagan

“A novel is a journey into your own soul, and you seek there to discover those things that you share with all others.”

― Richard Flanagan

“In reading, you sense the divine: the things that are larger and greater and more mysterious than yourself.”

― Richard Flanagan

“Shakespeare was completely fictionalising the people who were then the great celebrities of English.”

― Richard Flanagan

“In Australia, the Man Booker is sometimes seen as something of a chicken raffle.”

― Richard Flanagan

“Horror can be contained within a book, given form and meaning. But in life, horror has no more form than it does meaning. Horror just is.”

― Richard Flanagan

“I was struck by the way Europeans see history as something neatly linear. For me, it’s not that; it’s not some kind of straight railway.”

― Richard Flanagan

“You can spend a day in a library and feel: ‘Great, I’ve done a day’s work.’ But it’s only research, not writing.”

― Richard Flanagan

“I said in my acceptance speech that I hope that readers remember this not as the year I won the Booker, but the year that there were six extraordinary books on the shortlist.”

― Richard Flanagan

“I am, of course, greatly honoured to win the Booker, which is one of the great literary prizes in the world.”

― Richard Flanagan

“Generally, literary prizes are significant not for who the winner is but the discussion they create around books.”

― Richard Flanagan

“I think all novels are contemporary. When people went to see ‘Antony-Cleopatra’ at the Globe in the 16th century, they were not going to get a history lesson on the Roman Empire. It was about love, sex, and also about dynastic troubles.”

― Richard Flanagan

“I hate the way my life has been inexplicably overwhelmed by questionnaires. Life is so much stranger and so much more beautiful than the lists that reduce it to an anorexic assembly of tics and obsessions.”

― Richard Flanagan

“I am the happiest writing and being with the people I love.”

― Richard Flanagan

“My secret skill is baking bread. My mother was a farmer’s daughter and still made bread every day when I was a child. She would have me knead the dough when I got home from school.”

― Richard Flanagan

“I love all forms of music. I even like music I dislike, because the music you dislike is like going to a strange country, and it forces you to rethink everything and to appreciate its particular joys.”

― Richard Flanagan

“My mother hoped I’d be a plumber.”

― Richard Flanagan

“Perhaps the virtue of coming from a place like Tasmania is that you had the great gift of knowing that you were not the centre of things, yet life was no less where you were.”

― Richard Flanagan

“My father, unusually for a PoW, talked about his experiences, but he talked about them in a very limited way.”

― Richard Flanagan
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