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Diving Into Glass

With special guest:

  • Caro Llewellyn
    … in conversation with Bill Kable

When Caro Llewellyn started writing her new book she had intended it to be mainly about her extraordinary father, Richard. However her life then took a sudden and unexpected turn, one which turned her world upside down. That change meant adding to the story with her own experience and her feelings became the title of her new book Diving Into Glass.

Caro was on top of the world with a son she adored, a glittering career organising book festivals around the world where she got to meet and become friendly with leading writers and an active lifestyle that often included daily runs of 10km or more. What is more Caro felt confident in agreeing with her father that fate would favour her because surely her dad had taken on himself all the bad luck that a family should expect.

This is a fascinating story where we learn about Caro’s father Richard who was put in an iron lung at the age of 20 to deal with the paralysing effects of polio. Richard was not expected to make old or even middle aged bones. But Richard not only survived, he was able from his wheelchair to set up businesses, marry twice and have four children before becoming an adviser to the Premier of South Australia. To go along with that we learn about Richard’s setbacks when he was prevented from taking on University courses because they did not have disabled access. And there were other frustrations but Richard was not one to complain about his life.

We learn about Caro’s mother who had a mix of independence, intelligence, talent, caring and also a wild side. Caro’s mother Kate became a recognised poet after her early career as a nurse. As a nurse Kate had formed an unlikely alliance with Richard while he was in an iron lung.

And then Caro turns her attention to her own situation. While running in Central Park New York she felt numbness in her legs and struggled to get home. Within two days came the dreaded diagnosis of multiple sclerosis. This is where her choice of song becomes relevant. Caro has a lust for life and this is what attracted luminaries such as Philip Roth to her side. When you hear the interview you will hear this approach to life for yourself. This is not going to bring you down, Caro encourages us all to make the most of everything in our everyday lives.

Caro is an eloquent and frank speaker. You may need to examine your own life after hearing her thoughts. A great book to read and we are privileged to be able to hear her directly in the program today.

Caro Llewellyn

Caro Llewellyn is the author of three previous works of nonfiction. She is the former director of several large-scale literary festivals and cultural events. She has hosted writers from every corner of the globe, including a number of Nobel Prize winners, and presented events at the Sydney Opera House, London’s Southbank, the Louvre, and New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, Town Hall, 92Y and historic Cooper Union. She is currently a director at Museums Victoria. Diving Into Glass is her first work of autobiography.

Song selection by our guest: Lust For Life by Iggy Pop

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