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Jesse Shorter

I was fortunate enough to be able to watch the Sydney Writers Festival via live stream at the Griffith Regional Theatre.


I watched two of the five sessions.

First was Author and Artist Lauren Child. Telling humorous stories about day to day life through poorly drawn cartoons and using characters that are absolute extremities of themselves e.g. bad characters are rotten to the core, also having some sort of disfigurement and good characters shine with honor. Child is the mind behind the popular characters Clarice Bean and Ruby Redfort.

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Child spoke of how she enjoyed the portrayal of villains in Bond films, the characters having fixations with unusual things and using strange weapons, Child explains how she used a similar idea when she created a villain.

Child also told of how she often tired of watching Bond films around halfway through and often didn’t finish them as all the characters that had been introduced had been promptly killed off and no normalities had been introduced, saying “how interesting it would of been if Bond had of ran into one of the other characters at the supermarket”. I have similar thoughts about Bond films, I’ve sat down to watch them more times then I recall, however the first 30 to 40 minutes is about all I can get through.

Child used the film North By Northwest as an example of intertwining chaos with everyday life, people were trying to kill Gary Grant yet he still sat down for supper.

Child claimed she never set out to be an author, she just wanted to do art, however wasn’t successful so she got a day job and wrote a movie that ended up being published as a book, the whole thing was an accident.


Second was Author and Businessman Saroo Brierly and his adoptive mother Sue Brierly. Janice Petersen did a phenomenal job of the interview asking consistently brilliant questions.

Saroo claimed that before writing his autobiography had doubted whether or not anyone would want to read it. He eventually wrote it in the hope that other people in a similar predicament would tell their story. Saroo said he didn’t encounter racism as a kid. I was amazed by that. Something also worth noting is that Saroo mentioned the scenes in the film Lion which were shot in India when he was homeless, went to that woman’s flat and lived in the orphanage were toned wright down, the actual events being to horrific for the film.

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Saroo also said he hoped for a prequel to Lion about his biological mother, adoptive mother and Saroj Sood (the adoption lady) because all three have extremely strong stories to tell.

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The most interesting part of the interview was hearing Saroo’s adoptive mother speak about her life and the events surrounding her choice to adopt a child from India.

Sue Brierly grow up in Australia as a refugee after WW11. Her family was dysfunctional causing her to have a troubled upbringing. Her father had many flaws. Children often happened because of religious views rather than by actual want.

At the age of 12 while standing out the front of her parents home Sue was overcome by a warmth and had a vision of a brown child standing by her side. From that point on Sue knew she would adopt a brown child. What’s also worth pointing out is Sue and her husband could of had their own children by birth, however chose not to. Sue would often tell Saroo that it would be good to one day meet his birth mother, her greatest fear was when Saroo returned to India he wouldn’t find his birth mother.

Film Reviews


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