Stan Grant’s Thea Astley Lecture in the Feros Marquee at Byron Writers Festival 2016 was filled to overflow as he spoke about the impact African-American author James Baldwin’s Go Tell It On The Mountain has on him.
Grant, a Wiradjuri man and renowned journalist, said he turned to Baldwin when he heard the news that another indigenous child had taken her life.
‘We were living in a world that could not see us,’ Grant said. ‘Baldwin made me visible.’
Grant’s memoir Talking to My Country has been described as a powerful meditation on race.
His eloquence and the power of his argument has led many to call him to run for parliament but that is not in his plans.
Instead Grant prefers to ‘live in the world of words and stories’. He urged for Australians to read Australia’s ‘great Indigenous writers’ such as Bruce Pascoe and Kim Scott, saying it was a ‘national disgrace’ that they were not more widely read.
The often emotional and moving speech brought people to their feet.
Report by Southern Cross University Reporters.