Kath Engebretson, author of Red Dirt Odyssey,
answers 10 quick questions for us…
Read Kath’s full interview about her first novel and the writing process here.
#1 What’s your favourite book?
The one that sticks in my mind is Edith Wharton’s The House of Mirth. It’s the story of a young woman in 19th century America who refuses to sell herself short into an unsatisfactory marriage. I’ve read it three times and each time I love it more.
#2 Which authors do you most admire, and why?
I love Australian novels; I read anything by Tim Winton, Kate Grenville, Richard Flanagan, Peter Carey, Tom Keneally, Christopher Koch, Sonia Hartnett, Eva Sallis, Charlotte Wood, and many others. I love everything Helen Garner writes including her non-fiction. I am always watching for new Australian novelists. I read most of Patrick White’s novels when I was young, and now I find myself going back to them. I read Ruth Park’s Harp in the South when I was at school and it has stayed with me. I must have read it five times by now. Christopher Koch’s wonderful book, The Year of Living Dangerously features my favourite literary character, the photojournalist Billie Kwan who is a dwarf. To some extent he has influenced my portrayal of Simon in Red Dirt Odyssey.
#3 What’s your favourite line from any book?
The main character (Lily Bart) in Edith Wharton’s The House of Mirth is very poor, and knows she needs to make a good marriage. She is travelling by train to a house party in the country and is joined by an eligible man who is travelling to the same party. She finds him a terrible bore, but knows that he is a good marriage prospect. The line is something like:
She settled down to be bored by him for the next hour, so that she could continue to be bored by him for the rest of her life.
#4 Spring, Summer, Autumn or Winter?
Definitely summer; I love the beach and warm weather.
#5. Would you rather have a cat or dog?
I am a dedicated lover of dogs.
#6. If you were attending a fancy dress party,
what would your costume be?
I really hate fancy dress parties.
#7. What punctuation mark best
describes your personality?
A question mark; I am endlessly curious and constantly reading.
#8. How do you feel about going to a movie alone,
or eating alone in a restaurant?
I do this all the time and love it. I enjoy watching people and wondering about their stories and relationships. I have a particular taste in movies and plays that not everyone shares so I often go alone.
#9. If you had your own talk show,
who would be your first three guests?
Josie Farrer, the indigenous Western Australian member for the Kimberley who is a model for a character in Red Dirt Odyssey; Pat Dodson; Thomas Keneally.
#10. Favourite place you have ever travelled to, and why?
The Kimberley. I’ve only just begun to explore it.