Ryan Cropp Meet the Author

31 Jul 2023

ANU/Canberra Times. Meet the Author. Ryan Cropp

Ryan Cropp will be in conversation with Mark McKenna on his new book Donald Horne. A Life in the Lucky Country, a fascinating biography of a brilliant man who captured the nation’s imagination and boldly showed Australians who we were and how we could change.

Donald Horne’s bestselling first book, The Lucky Country (1964), offered Australians a compelling reinterpretation of the Menzies years as a period of social and political inertia and mediocrity. The Lucky Country was profoundly influential and, without doubt, one of the most significant shots ever fired in Australia’s endless culture war.

Ryan Cropp’s landmark biography positions Horne as an antipodean Orwell, a lively, independent and distinct literary voice ‘searching for the temper of the people, accepting it, and moving on from there’. Through the eyes – and unforgettable words – of this preternaturally observant and articulate man, we see a recognisable modern Australia take shape.

‘Unmissable for anybody interested in the intellectual life of this country. The absorbing story of how one fascinating man was changed by the times he lived through, and how he, in turn, changed his country.’Sean Kelly.

‘A compulsive read about a writer who shaped the way we Australians think about ourselves’ Judith Brett

Dr Ryan Cropp, writer and historian, is a Research Fellow at the University of Sydney. His writing has appeared in Australian Book Review, Overland and Inside Story.

Professor Mark McKenna is one of Australia’s leading historians. He is the author of several prize-winning books, including From the Edge: Australia’s Lost Histories, Looking for Blackfellas’ Point and An Eye for Eternity: The Life of Manning Clark, which won the Prime Minister’s Literary Award for nonfiction and the Victorian, New South Wales, Queensland and South Australian premiers’ awards.

The vote of thanks will be given by Allan Behm, Director, International & Security Affairs Program at The Australia Institute.

This event is in association with Harry Hartog Bookshop. Books will be available for purchase on the evening in the Cultural Centre foyer. Pre-event book signings will be available from 5.30pm, and available again after the event.


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• Accessible parking spaces are available around campus should you require them.

• To help keep everyone safe, please ensure that you are familiar with, and follow, the advice from ACT Health regarding COVID-19.

• If you do not feel well, please refrain from attending this event.

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• A podcast will be made available after the event.

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