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  • Writer's pictureMary Roberts


There is a saying - ‘Richer than me you will never be, for I had a mother who read to me.’ I don’t know who said it first, but I do know it is true.

My mother read to us, my brother Peter and to me, every night before we went to bed. We loved it. She sat on the couch and we sat close beside her. It introduced us to lots of stories. Peter and I took turns in choosing our favourites and of course Mum sometimes introduced new ones. Australian Stories, Blinky Bill and The Magic Pudding and English stories The Water Babies and A.A.Milne. Mum always loved A.A. Milne. I can still remember the words of some of his poems. Kipling was one of our favourites. I liked The Jungle Book better than the Just So Stories. There were so many others

Sometimes, not very often that I can remember, Mum was out for the evening and someone else would be looking after us. I suppose, whomever it happened to be, had been told we always had a story. We would sit down as usual and hear a story and it was always a

disappointment. I'm not sure Mum was, necessarily, the best reader in the world, but she was certainly the best reader in our world. How much was familiarity and love and affection and how much was actually reading ability I have no idea but it just wasn’t the same when anyone else was reading. However we still wouldn’t have gone without the story. Mum gave us access to untold wealth, all the riches in the world. when she introduced us to a love of reading.

Stories give us new ideas to think about, new ways to see old things, open up whole new worlds ; they entertain us ,make us laugh make us cry.

I started writing to record history. I enjoyed it, enjoyed it very much. But after awhile I started to feel that while I was recording facts and figures, writing short sketches of the lives of some of the important people of the time and place it didn’t cover the emotions. It didn’t say what it felt like to be there. How it felt to live a life in that time and place. So, I started to write stories to make things I knew come to life. I’d read so many stories about tin miners in Cornwall, slick city people in New York, all sorts of people from other places and now I wanted our Australian circumstances, the places I knew, especially the outback, come to life - to open it up so other people could almost experience it for themselves - to feel that they knew it too.

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