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Dining Out with Mr. Lunch: interviews and profiles of leading writers
by murray d waldren   

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Publisher:  University of Queensland Press ISBN-10:  0702231258 Type: 


Copyright:  Oct 5 1999

A collection of 34 profiles of leading writers such as Tim Winton, Oliver Sacks, Roald Dahl, Fay Weldon, Brian Keenan, Brian Moore, P.D. James, Richard Ford and Kinky Friedman. It is an exploration of people and their creative lives rather than a text of literary criticism. Here is vanity, vulnerability, ambition, ego, regret, self-deprecation, hope, humour and sadness.

Barnes &
Australian On-Line Bookshop
Ned Kelly booksellers

"Murray Waldren has the rare knack of drawing the most personal revelations from his interview subjects while always being warm and respectful. Morris West, Oliver Sacks, Richard Ford, Mordechai Richler, J. P. Dunleavy, Paulo Coelho, Robert Drewe, Alan Duff, and P.D. James, just to name a few, are among the chosen subjects. They are presented in pacey, street-smart prose.
This book will engage both the general reader and be invaluable for anyone studying the craft of writing and journalism."
Photographs complement each profile.


From the air, Grafton squats like an untidy picnicker on a dun and ochre quilt. Long months without effective rain have made the paddocks around the inland town dustily sunstruck. Even the Clarence, snaking between the Southern settlement and the CBD, looks sullen. The Jacaranda Capital of northern NSW is plainly feeling the heat.

The 16-seater plane has been more turbulent than I enjoy, and it's only when Wendy Botha bots 40 cents from me at the airport to make a phone call that I realise the former world surfing champ and her husband, rugby league international Brett Todd, have been on board. We trained observers are like that in a crisis.

By the time I encounter Gillian Mears at the door to the public bar of the Crown Hotel, I've calmed down. She hasn't. She's spent a sleepless night worrying about the consequences, she tells me. Beneath her eyes, dark and large like a spotlit possum's, the bruised rings of insomnia bear witness. Already I feel a cad, and I've only said hello.

Professional Reviews

Wise and witty
... His profiles leave you all the wiser about his subjects - James Hall, The Australian

Insights a delight
...Murray Waldren's empathy and skill draw illuminating revelations - Alan Hill, Daily Telegraph

Tasty repast
LITERARY journalist Murray Waldren is in his
element not (as the title suggests) when he is at
lunch with writers, but when he is on their turf,
capturing the texture of the writer's life as much
as the flavor of their work. While he has
interviewed many overseas and interstate
authors, his best pieces are those profiling
Australian writers whose world he has been
able to enter, whether it be that of the reclusive
Gillian Mears down on the family farm near
Grafton where she works (at the time of the
interview) in a caravan; at home with David
Foster at his 19th-century stone house with its
half-hectare garden in the Southern Highlands;
or climbing the 86 steps to Robert Drewe's
coastal ``shack'' of glass and wood near
Sydney. These settings, always atmospherically
evoked, give Waldren the opportunity to
exercise his skills as a portraitist and play the
role of the city boy who dreams of Arcadia.

Fiona Capp, The Age

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