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This interview is taken from PN Review 53, Volume 13 Number 3, January - February 1987.

In Conversation with David Malouf Richard Kelly Tipping

Widely regarded as one of Australia's finest writers, David Malouf has won prestigious awards for his novels An Imaginary Life and Harland's Half-Acre; he is also an accomplished poet. For much of the past decade he has been living in a small village in Tuscany, and in his most recent book, 12 Edmondstone Street (Chatto & Windus, 1985), Malouf describes the impact of a film-crew on his solitude, while the village shivered under the first snow for fifty years. He was interviewed by the Australian poet and film-maker Richard Kelly Tipping as part of the making of a documentary portrait, funded by the Australia Council's Literature Board.


Richard Kelly Tipping: Is there a reformative urge towards 'making a better world' - by enlarging your own imaginative experience and extending it to an audience - in your writing?


David Malouf: If you were to ask what is a piece of writing for - what is it meant to do - I would want to say it's meant to work on the imagination and put you at the centre of an enlarged view. I'm not critical of people who feel that how they want to change things is to get up and convince people on a public platform, or to go into an area where they might be able to exert some kind of power, but I think in the end that people are changed not by argument but by being put into ...


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