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Morning Coffee-After Oprah: Wisdom From Down Under

The last time any of us thought about Australia was when we could still hear “You’ve got mail,” issue from our desktops and watch Crocodile Dundee on VHS. It’s been over ten years since the World Olympics were held in Sydney. But now we have a reason to rediscover an island that is far more than a desert of beer-chugging “yobbos” who say “mate” and “cobber” and “fair dinkum.” Oprah’s recent adventures through the Land Down Under—rich with grandeur, culture, and austere beauty—only began to peel back the curtain.

Author Camilla Chance brings us “Wisdom Man,” the story of an Aboriginal Elder who makes Crocodile Dundee look like Mickey Mouse. “Wisdom Man” tells the tale of Banjo Clarke, a man of great strength and heart who survived an era of racism, murder, and oppression only comparable to the American slave trade.

Imagine a city girl educated in London, Switzerland and Italy squatting around the same campfire as an Aborigine. It’s an odd pairing, but that’s exactly what “Wisdom Man” gives us…and brilliantly. Camilla was raised as an aristocrat in England and presented to the Queen and Prince Philip. Banjo was an Aboriginal in Australia and became a great leader. Yet these polar opposites became best friends around the same conviction: love always wins. The frankness and detail of the text draws us in campfire-style, and the unhurried pace is captivating. It is little wonder that Camilla is the first non-Aboriginal to receive a prestigious Aboriginal Award for her commitment to the Aboriginal people. The book’s release was timely, paving the way for Australia’s Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s apology to the Aboriginals for years of abuse and oversight.

It turns out that there are more dangerous things Down Under than snakes, crocodiles, box jellyfish and toxic caterpillars: people who do not love.

At first we might feel like we’re reading wrong side up. Australia’s seasons go in the reverse order, its constellations are upside down, the country was launched as a one big prison house surrounded by austere outback. But it is perhaps we who are upside down. Banjo Clarke’s story is anything but backwards. His poignant perspective clears the clutter and sheds light on darkness. “Wisdom Man” opens up a world of such compassion and insight that the book just received HM in the London Book Festival 2010. The award is well deserved: one cannot walk away without a sense of enlargement, hope, enrichment—and yes, wisdom.

We don’t need to go “down under.” To learn more about this fascinating tale, we just click around the Official Website—or better, hold the original book in our hands.

Created by Sherri Rosen Publicity, NYC


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This entry was posted on Tuesday, February 1st, 2011 at 7:53 am and is filed under Clients, Friends and Colleagues, Industry News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

One Response to “Morning Coffee-After Oprah: Wisdom From Down Under”

  1. Fiona Clarke Says:

    Would like newsletter if there is one, (posted to my email)
    Banjo is my father.

    Fiona Clarke

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