What drives our most outstanding literary figures to become activists and public intellectuals? Are they, in Shelley’s famous phrase, our ‘unacknowledged legislators’? How have their public interventions provoked us, and how have we responded? Can writers really change the world?
Literary Activists examines these questions through the lives and actions of some of Australia’s foremost writers. It offers fresh insight into the activism, public-intellectual careers and writings of Judith Wright, Patrick White, Oodgeroo of the tribe of Noonuccal, Les Murray, Helen Garner, David Malouf and Tim Winton. It explores the intimate connection between writers and activism and asks what this reveals about the future of Australian literature.