In the final leg of the Edinburgh World Writers’ conference, the Aboriginal writer Tony Birch muses on post-national literatureI discovered the post-national novel on Melbourne’s North Richmond railway station in 1971 when I was 15 years old. I had been expelled from school after falling through a shop window in a fight with another boy. I was slightly built but never bullied, as my father had taught me to box above my weight. Although I learned little in high school, I was a voracious reader. I’d held a public library card from the age of five, and picked up secondhand paperbacks whenever I could. My train was cancelled that day and I had a further half hour to wait. I retrieved a novel from my bag that I had borrowed from the library.Barry Hines’s A Kestrel for a Knave was published 1968. It is set in a depressed working-class area of northern England, a long way from inner Melbourne. Those around him – a bullying older brother, schoolyard thugs and psychopathic teachers – repeatedly whack Billy Casper, the slightly built boy at the centre of the novel. He finds salvation from violence through his love for a bird, a headstrong …read more

Via: The Guardian | Books