Monday, May 27 started early. Very early. Barely 6.30am, and the entire library team was assembled, preparing for books@breakfast, this time featuring Stan Grant, Wiradjuri man, journalist and anchor, and currently Indigenous and International Affairs Analyst at the ABC, and professor of Global Affairs at Griffith University in Queensland – and author of several books, including the recently published Australia Day.
By just after 7.00am, the library was buzzing with excited students, parents and staff, enjoying a delicious spread of pastries, yoghurt, brownies and life-restoring tea or coffee. And at 7.30am, Stan started his talk, after a moving Acknowledgement of Country from Ky Willoughby. For almost an hour he held the audience spellbound, starting with his impoverished childhood living on the fringes of country towns, moving as his father chased work. Everywhere he went, though, he carried “this love for books and words” which has stayed with him all his life.
He talked about his latest book, Australia Day – his extraordinarily powerful and personal book about reconciliation, the Indigenous struggle for belonging, and what it means to be Australian. In it he discusses whether or not it’s a day that divides us, the shore people from the ship people. He asks how do we resolve the tension, and build the idea of Australia into something that works for all of us, becoming not “us and them” but “we”.
It was an honour to host Stan Grant in the library, and we all appreciated his generosity with his time and in sharing his experiences. We love hosting books@breakfast – our guests are always inspiring, intriguing and interesting, and make the alarms set for dawn well worthwhile!