Stan Grant and cultural memory: Embodying a national race narrative through memoir

Abramis Academic
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Ethical Space: the international journal of communication ethics, 2018, 15 (3/4), pp. 34 - 45
Issue Date:
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As a journalist for more than 30 years, his face and voice are immediately recognisable. But throughout the 1990s to many in Australia – watching Stan Grant anchor a commercial television current affairs programme every night as they ate their dinner – no one could guess at his untold story. He has written two memoirs. The first is the voice of a confused, angry, perhaps fearful young man. This voice melds his personal story as quest – of family, loves, pain, career and torment – into the national race narrative. For Stan Grant is a proud Wiradjuri/Kamilaroi man and his story importantly ‘untells’ much of the white Australian history of central and south western NSW, before disclosing his own struggle with race and racism in his land. Ten years later and in response to a notorious moment in 2013 on an Australian sporting field, Grant writes a newspaper column which attracts more than 100,000 hits on social media. He follows this with his second memoir. This voice is calmer, less angry but perhaps sadder. It performs as a collective and cultural remembering of the Australian First Nations and implicitly, an advocacy manifesto to a nation still struggling with racial tensions. Through textual analysis of both texts, and with the inclusion of further paratextual material, including his Quarterly Essay, this paper sets out to discuss Grant’s application of life writing/memoir practice to penetrate the race debate in Australia in an attempt to effect change.
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