Anna Funder in NYC

Unlike some other communities in New York, like Scandinavia House and the Asia Society, Australia does not have a street level cultural center. So for all things official and unofficial, from voting in general elections to sharing morning tea or to meeting international best-selling authors, the place to go is the Australian Consulate opposite the Chrysler building on 42nd street.

Last week, AWNY ( Australian Women in New York ) welcomed Anna Funder as their guest speaker at the Consulate. This was my inaugural attendance at their monthly meeting and a good one to choose. Anna has been short listed for the Miles Franklin Award for ‘All That I Am’ and being there meant I was one of the first to hear part of the acceptance speech she had just recorded at Penguin. Not that she is assuming victory ( Anna’s publisher sounds to be protectively pessimistic ) but regardless, she didn’t want to chance the speech going entirely to waste…

Being at the meeting was a great opportunity to listen to and to meet the woman who The Guardian called ‘one of the most interesting female writers around’.  Anna was honest and funny and spoke freely about her life – what a wealth of travel and experience and well-met opportunity. She was a collector of stories that became a teller of stories, and with german and french as fluent doors into other worlds, she went there. Anna has recently moved with her family to NYC, she is reading ‘A tree grows in Brooklyn’ to put her in the new place, and I wander what stories will come of it…..

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