Robert Drewe is an Australian literary legend whose more than 20 highly acclaimed books, including novels, short stories and memoirs have won state, national and international prizes, been widely translated, and been adapted for film, television, theatre and radio.
Comic, topical, honest, sharply intelligent, and, above all, sympathetic, Robert Drewe’s exhilarating new novel Whipbird tells a classic Australian family saga as it has never been told before.
Kungadgee, Victoria, Australia. A weekend in late November, 2014. At Hugh and Christine Cleary’s new vineyard, Whipbird, six generations of the Cleary family are coming together from far and wide to celebrate the 160th anniversary of the arrival of their ancestor Conor Cleary from Ireland. Hugh has been meticulously planning the event for months – a chance to proudly showcase Whipbird to the extended clan. Some of these family members know each other; some don’t.
As the wine flows, it promises to be an eventful couple of days.
And Robert Drewe pulls no punches. Nothing is sacred as he takes on the mining boom and conservationists; everyone from investment bankers and real-estate agents to sea-changers and tree-changers, vegans and Paleo practitioners, First World smugness, global-warming, retirement, divorce, death, sudoko and artisan brewers. And the nonchalant disrespect and disillusionment of the young.
Robert Drewe explores with humour, sensitivity and a dash of the surreal, what it means to be an Australian family today, a family trying to find common ground across a blend of generations and different cultural, ethnic and religious backgrounds. The result is exhilarating – comic, honest, sympathetic – and vastly entertaining.
Join us to hear this celebrated Australian author speak about his new book and read an extract or two.