Q&A with Sasha Grishin, author of Australian Art: A History, shortlisted for the 2015 ABIA Illustrated Book of the Year
How did the idea to write your book originate?
I generally write a book because I cannot find it on the shelf as it does not exist. We have no extensive recent history of Australian art, discussed in all of its different glorious manifestations, across all mediums, including Indigenous and non- Indigenous art, from prehistoric cave painting through to the present day. Research involved tens of thousands of kilometres travelled to see galleries, museums, exhibitions and many, many artists’ studios, thousands of hours spent in libraries across Australia and numerous discussions with people working in Australian art at many different levels. About a decade later a manuscript emerged.
What’s your favourite thing about being a published author?
Until the book appears, you have private thoughts which are shared with a circle of friends. Once it is in print, your ideas appear in the public domain and you engage a huge audience and, in the case of this book, it has been a very responsive and interactive audience.
What are some of the things you love about Australian bookstores?
In my acknowledgments to this book I list two of my favourite bookstores, in Melbourne and Sydney, which have been an integral part of my education. For me, a good Australian bookstore is like an intellectual community, where through the act of browsing there is productive territory discovered for creative cross-fertilisation.
What’s the most recent Australian book that you read and loved?
Where Song Began: Australia’s Birds and How They Changed the World by Tim Low. If you could meet any Australian author, dead or alive, who would you like to
The poet, John Shaw Neilson
What Australian book had the biggest impact on you as a child?
Eleanor Dark’s The Timeless Land.
After readers have finished reading your book, which Australian book would you
recommend they read next?
Betty Churcher’s Australian Notebooks.