RICHARD FLANAGAN RIFFS ON OUR NEW PRINT EDITION — 'THE EGO ISSUE'

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Photograph by Colin Macdougall

Frequent Miles Franklin shortlistee and 2014 Man Booker Prize winner, generous high-fiver and all-round cool dude Richard Flanagan had this to say when we told him about our new Ego Issue:

“We tried to write a blog, a tweet, a novelised memoir, an autobiographical novel. We fished for likes or friends. We strove to metamorphise a life, a universe, into clickbait — but our only subject was what we knew, which was nothing. All that we didn’t know, all that led us to others, all that led us to everything that might matter, all that was effectively censored by the ideology of our day: the first person pronoun forever fumbling in the shallows of self. Irony and cynicism were the new naivety. We cloaked ourselves in them as in armour, for hidden beneath we had the sense we knew nothing, and, worse, perhaps were nothing. The craft of sentences, the mystery of story, the perennial surprise of character — all these we dismissed as outmoded and obvious in the hope we were not, never understanding they were the greatest human invention we had for divining the cosmos and its infinite mystery. For what other defence against nothingness did we have? What other way was there to make us and our world anew? To hold all that we love and who love us? Every medium is an invitation, and there is no banal form in the world, only the banality of bad replies. And in order to say yes, to say yes well, we first had to leave home, the table, the laptop, the tablet, the phone — we first had to leave ourselves. 

And only then could we finally begin.”

So, what — are you gonna argue with him, or are you gonna grab yourself a copy of The Ego Issue and find out exactly what it is you’ve done wrong?