When I was 20 I was at the Brisbane Writers Festival in a cafe in West End and people were asked to read out their first published work. I was so nervous but I stood up and walked to the front to read my story, “Sarah” that was published 3 years earlier. I had never read anything of mine in public and I was very scared. I got through it all, and it is quite a touching, sad story, and at the end there was silence. I stood there for a moment…holding my breath thinking “oh great this is the effect my story has on everyone” (haha) (I think maybe people had been effected by it and felt a bit uncomfortable to clap with a story that was about the death of your father). Then from the back of the crowd after one or two seconds – I heard a raucous clapping and a man up the back said “Well said, well said!” It was Bob Ellis (writer and journalist).
He was the only voice I heard at this point, and then other people clapped, he broke the silence with exuberance. I was so grateful to him. What a beautiful man! I will always remember what he did for me in that moment, he didn’t need to do this. RIP Bob Ellis, you were strong, gregarious, bold and kind.
Check out this video below of this eclectic, diverse, talented author. 🙂