Louis Nowra - Author Q & A

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5 minutes with Louis Nowra

Louis NowraLouis Nowra was born in Melbourne. He is the author of such plays as Cosi, Radiance and The Boyce Trilogy. He has written non-fiction works including The Cheated, Warne's World, and Bad Dreaming, the novels The Misery of Beauty, Palu and Ice, young adult novels, memoirs, radio plays, telemovies and film scripts.

What was the last good book you read?

Suspended Sentences by Patrick Modiano.

Do you have a favourite Library?

My favourite is always the one that has the obscure book I’m after.

What's the strangest thing you've ever read about yourself or your work?

In a textbook I read that my father converted to Islam and worked in the oilfields of Sumatra. Actually he was a truck driver, Catholic and was Melbourne based.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

Revise.

What inspired you to write Woolloomooloo?

I became intrigued by the history and people of Woolloomooloo and puzzled as to why a book hadn’t been written about it for over fifty years.

Want to read more about Woolloomooloo?

WoolloomoolooIt was no wonder I was glad to be down in Woolloomooloo. The Old Fitzroy reminded me of how Kings Cross used to be.

Told in his vivid and entertaining style, Louis Nowra writes Woolloomooloo’s biography, drink in hand, from the vantage point of the Old Fitzroy Hotel, the cosy, eccentric and wonderful pub on Dowling Street, Woolloomooloo. It’s a world of sex, sin, sly grog, sailors, razor gangs, larrikins, workers, artisans, murderers, fishermen, activists, drinkers, fashion designers, tradies, artists and the downright dangerous. It’s also a story of courage, resilience, tolerance, compassion. And though the pub has a real theatre, it’s the cast of real-life characters that are the stars of this show.

Woolloomooloo’s past wraps around its present.  Louis – often accompanied by Coco the Chihuahua and other two-legged locals, often walks the streets, uncovering history – some official, some never revealed. He stumbles across pockets of beauty and charm, and the derelict and abandoned. Unforgettable – and unspellable – Woolloomooloo in this book is a place as fascinating as its name.

Woolloomooloo is published by NewSouth Books and available now.