Trinity Grammar School’s Arthur Holt Library has adopted a special way for boys and their parents to bond within the framework of literacy. By featuring books at breakfast, boys and their parents are given the chance to celebrate text by meeting authors, discussing books and enjoying breakfast all before the working day begins.
The aptly named books@breakfast events aim to inspire lifelong learning by inviting accomplished authors to visit the school and address students, parents and teachers, with the purpose of promoting boys’ literacy and giving parents the opportunity to model good reading habits.
This third event in the series was highly anticipated and attendance levels shattered previous records with parents in particular, keen to hear from the ever-popular journalist, radio host and author, Richard Glover. Richard is host of the Drive programme on ABC Radio Sydney, and a regular columnist for the Sydney Morning Herald where for 20 years he has delighted readers with his humorous take on family life featuring his wife Jocasta, sons Batboy and the Space Cadet and more recently his new dog Clancy. He is also the author of a number of best-selling books including the entertaining and exhausting The Mud House which tells the tale of how he and his friends built a mud-brick house on weekends, all with no power tools involved.
It was Richard’s latest book, Flesh Wounds that featured at this month’s books@breakfast event. It is a book for anyone who has ever speculated if their family is the oddest one on the planet, and wondered at the way so many of us survive – despite families that were not what we ordered. Richard’s book describes his mother’s Tolkein-inspired nudist colony, her invented past as a British aristocrat and his father’s distance and alcoholism, to say nothing of his mastery of the lamb chop, served without fail every evening.
In the packed Arthur Holt Library, as Richard Glover shares his story with Trinity, the audience responds with laughter as Richard delivers the engaging, honest, sad and yet funny story of his upbringing. Clearly intrigued, the audience heard about Richard’s early life in Papua New Guinea, his mother’s phobia, family lore about his conception, and his discovery of the truth… all the while careful not to give away the secrets revealed in his book.
Richard explains that although his story appears to be uniquely ‘weird’, he is convinced his is not the strangest upbringing and that is why his book resonates with people. The Trinity crowd was clearly moved by the author’s candour and ability to see the funny side despite his unconventional relationship with his parents.
Asked what advice he could offer to aspiring Trinity autobiographers, Richard suggests they should be brutally honest and harsh on themselves as nobody wants to read about someone who thinks they’ve done everything right.
“Male authors act as role models and reinforce the idea that boys and reading are a great mix. With Australian literacy levels under the spotlight, Trinity aims to promote reading for education and enjoyment,” said Stefanie Gaspari, Arthur Holt Library Director of Library Services.
The next books@breakfast event will take place early in 2018.