Why You are Australian: A Letter to My Children

Nikki Gemmell

Why You are Australian: A Letter to My Children
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Why You are Australian: A Letter to My Children

Nikki Gemmell

A love letter to Australia, from a London exile When expatriate novelist Nikki Gemmell had her children in London, she chose to give them Aussie citizenship over British. This Is Why. Why you are Australian is an examination of our country thirty years ago and today: all the glory of its sun and water - and all the darkness of tall poppies and Cronulla. How does our land look from way over there, and from right up close? A treatise about what it means to be Australian right now. Honest, moving, provocative, uplifting - an exile’s story, a mother’s story, an Australian’s story. Why you are Australian for anyone who needs reminding. ‘Achingly I want you to know what it is to be Aussie kids. Where playing barefoot is a signifier of freedom not impoverishment. Where a backyard’s a given not a luxury. Where sunshine and fresh food grow children tall. Where you know what a rash shirt is and a nipper, a Paddle Pop and a Boogie Board.’


My friends wait with anticipation for the next book by Gemmell. They like the raw honesty of her work. I’m not one of those people; however, I picked up this one because the topic was close to my heart. Essentially, Gemmell’s book is a long letter to her children justifying the choices she is making in relation to parenthood and the decision to return back to sunny ground after living in London for over ten years. I lived in England with young children and made the decision to return to Australia for many reasons. I’m going to give this book to my children to read, because Nikki has covered the emotional, the political and the financial reasons right here. In doing so, she exposes the meaning of family, the changes in Australia and the longing any parent feels to give their children the very best on offer. This is not a novel, but rather a transcript of a moment in time; and although without a plot as such, it is a love story. A good one, too!

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