Meeting Courtney Collins in Athens

This week I was lucky enough to meet in Athens the wonderful Courtney Collins, one of Australia’s most luminous and powerful new literary voices. Over organic smoothies at a vegan cafe in the centre of town, Courtney talked to me in detail about what inspired her first novel, THE BURIAL (based on the life of legendary bushranger, Jessie Hickman) drawing interesting parallels between Jessie and the plight of the Greek people during the crisis.

Jessie, is a young woman whose life has been shaped by injustice. A cattle rustler and convict who, in her relentless fight for freedom, is also forced to become a murderer, Jessie is superficially a disempowered person. Yet throughout the novel she is acting powerfully and bravely, using her own moral compass to steer her through an entirely corrupt world. How does one remain good and moral when everything else around one -and more importantly the law- is corrupt? How does one survive when everything is against one?

“There was no loyalty because there was no freedom. There was only an oppressive bind,” writes Courtney Collins. I cannot think of a better quote to sum up my feelings about the situation in Greece at the moment. No, we are not free. But perhaps Jessie might serve as one of the inspirations in our tough fight for dignity and freedom.

The Burial by Courtney Collins (Allen & Unwin, 2012)

Greek rights for The Burial are handled exclusively by the Ersilia Literary Agency.

Image: Courtney Collins, copyright: Lionfish Media

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