Australia Day

Stan Grant

Australia Day
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Australia Day

Stan Grant

As uncomfortable as it is, we need to reckon with our history. On January 26, no Australian can really look away. There are the hard questions we ask of ourselves on Australia Day.

Since publishing his critically acclaimed, Walkley Award-winning, bestselling memoir Talking to My Country in early 2016, Stan Grant has been crossing the country, talking to huge crowds everywhere about how racism is at the heart of our history and the Australian dream. But Stan knows this is not where the story ends.


In this book, Australia Day, his long-awaited follow up to Talking to My Country, Stan talks about reconciliation and the indigenous struggle for belonging and identity in Australia, and about what it means to be Australian. A sad, wise, beautiful, reflective and troubled book, Australia Day asks the questions that have to be asked, that no else seems to be asking. Who are we? What is our country? How do we move forward from here? 

Review

Stan Grant has an issue with how we are responding to Australia Day. In his new book Australia Day, he argues that not all Australians are racist. Grant believes that the present media coverage of the issues around Australia Day doesn’t do anyone justice. He takes the position that while there is disagreement about so many aspects of the day’s supposed purpose and what it truly represents, what we all do share, hopefully indisputably, is an appreciation of the issues we must address in our country.

Grant is a proud Wiradjuri man from Griffith in New South Wales. His thoughts about how Australians respond to our collective history are not secret. As a journalist and as the author of the bestselling Talking to My Country, Grant has been speaking about his life and his politics for years now. In Australia Day, he has delved deeper into the consequences of Australian attitudes. He calls on philosophers, historians and poets to illuminate elements of his personal anguish and to contemplate who we are in this new era of identity politics. He quotes world leaders and thinkers to illustrate how Europeans created such a bloody mess and, by doing so, warns us to rise above the jargon and to act with consideration.

Grant writes with eloquence, authority and brutal honesty.* Australia Day* is the type of book that can (and should) be read aloud at every school assembly, parliamentary sitting, sports hall gathering and council meeting. Not everyone will agree with what Grant is suggesting, but we cannot argue with his intentions, nor can we doubt the sincerity of his shrewd (and damning) assessment of where we, as a nation, are now.

Reading Australia Day is like sitting at the kitchen table with Grant and listening to him talking to you – sharing his life, his pain and his good fortune. He has an idea of how Australia can be better, indeed, how we can all be better. Do him the courtesy of listening.


Chris Gordon is the events and programming manager for Readings.

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