British author Joanna Bogle was back in Melbourne last month to launch her latest book, 33 years after her first visit to do some writing and Catholic campaigning. Here she talks to Kairos about Australia, her writing and values.
Tell me more about your first trip to Australia.
It was all very exciting and everyone was terribly nice. I had the huge privilege of meeting Bob Santamaria and ‘sat at his feet’, so to speak, listening, learning a lot and getting involved with the pro-life movement.
Australia, with Bob Santamaria and the National Civic Council (NCC), pioneered a whole way of being Catholic in public life, a whole way of taking responsibility for your country, which has had a massive and far-reaching influence. And I would say I’m one of many who were formed and trained in that, and inspired by the way he taught, and by this idea of government, of service and response to your duty in public life for your country.
That has been a formative influence on young people in the pro-life movement who have picked up that idea of generous service, accepting the knocks and setbacks, along with intellectual formation in order to render that service, and nurturing of your spiritual life at the same time. The NCC made it relevant in the middle of the 20th century under very difficult circumstances, and is doing it still. It’s a uniquely Australian contribution to our Catholic life.
You have written around 20 books, tell me about your writing work.
Writing books is hard work. People say to me: "Oh, I suppose you have to wait for the inspiration?’ No, you don’t. Writing is work and I sit at my computer and I get on with it."
FULL STORY Time out with Joanna Bogle