Saturday, May 12, 2007

When Tom came to town

Thomas Keneally
Originally uploaded by ddeandlo.

Last night we hosted a lecture and drinks for acclaimed Australian author and now playwright, Thomas Keneally (his "Schindler's Ark" became the Spielberg wonder, "Schindler's List").

We were instructed rather early to call Mr Keneally "Tom", a testament to his easygoing personality and sense of humor. A small group gathered at Northwestern Law School's main auditorium downtown to hear Tom talk about his works and what it is to be a writer generally. Every chance he got, Tom talked up Australia and he expressed a real fascination with the lives of Aboriginal Australians, which helped to explain why they feature so prominently in particularly his early works.

Not being Aboriginal himself of course, Tom revealed that it was sometimes a struggle for him to feel like he was entitled to write from an Aboriginal perspective - did it make him some sort of fraud? Or at least certainly open to some criticism. And so it was with the story of Oskar Schindler. Not being of European heritage himself, what right did he have to attempt to write Oskar's story, or indeed the life and times of WW2 Europe? And yet, he reasoned the story simply had to be told - and not without significant research and inquiry.

After Tom's lecture, a small group of us took him to NoMi at the Park Hyatt for wines and nibbles. It was a really great night and we stayed a little longer than we were supposed to. But the staff there are so great and kept pouring for us, joking with us, and letting us enjoy the company of such a talented Australian.

Well that talented Australian buggered off to go to bed fairly early in the piece, leaving the rest of us to drink on without him. But by 10.30pm, I was ready to call it a night. All of us at work had had a really busy and pretty awful week all things considered, so entertaining Tom at the Hyatt really was a wonderful way to end things.


kilabyte said...

... well so much for Thomas .... what happened to the fireman???? .....

glamah16 said...

Yes we are all waiting to hear about that one :-)