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This interview is taken from PN Review 87, Volume 19 Number 1, September - October 1992.

Judith Wright: A Written Interview Carolyn Masel and Michael Schmidt
On the occasion of the first publication in this country of Judith Wright's book A Human Pattern, selected poems drawn from over four decades' work, P·N·R addressed a number of questions to the Australian poet who, earlier this year, was presented with the Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry. One of Australia's most remarkable writers, she has over the last decade turned from writing poetry to addressing urgent environmental and ethnic concerns.

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Could you tell us something about your father and mother, and their abiding influence upon you?

Not only my parents, but their own forebears, have influenced my life. Both were descendants of fairly well-off English families (there's also Scottish and French in there); and ever since their first arrival in Australia, most of my forebears have been landholders, pastoralist rather than farming. But, like other white Australians, my descent as a dweller in Australia is very shallow. The first arrivals among them came in 1828, when the colony of New South Wales was fifty years old; the rest came later in the 19th century. At the moment, I am trying, in an introductory chapter to an autobiography, to trace the motives of the first arrivals, their notions of what they would find, and the mental and social equipment they brought with them, as well as the sources of the British capital they brought or had access to.

History in Australia is a fairly superficial discipline, and it's handicapped by the fact that, as one writer at least ...


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