Claudia Karvan’s Surprising Reading Confession

They were movies that captured her heart. Her best friend’s father was a producer and kept thousands of VHS tapes in his attic. It was a veritable smorgasbord of the creme de la creme of Australian cinema and vintage films from around the world. “I think I prioritized that — I was ashamed that I read very few books until I was 16,” she says. It wasn’t until she worked with the legendary Judy Davis on the 1987 film High Tide and observed director Gillian Armstrong and writer Laura Jones that the then 15-year-old Karvan had some kind of epiphany. “It (challenged me) that if you want to have a career as an actor, you have to really be able to read and be comfortable with analyzing text, interpreting characters and dialogue,” she says. is history. She relives that passion, molded in her late teens by outstanding English teachers, as she embarks on a literary adventure to explore the stories that have shaped our nation’s identity in a three-part ABC documentary, Books That Made Us. Karvan’s appeared in film adaptations of some of our favorite novels. But she wants to delve further into Australian books. So she travels across the country to meet some of our most beloved and brilliant writers, including Richard Flanagan, Helen Garner, Tim Winton, Christos Tsiolkas, Liane Moriarty and Kathy Lette. They welcome her into their homes, their writing dens and the places that inspired their work. It was almost akin to a mini college degree to prepare for the show. Karvan had read 17 on the list, but there were about 22, she had to start all over again. And while she loved picking the brains of some of our most brilliant literary geniuses, she admits she was also quite daunted by the task. “Look, I have to be honest, it was a tough job,” she says. “It was quite taxing and quite nerve-wracking being able to keep up with some of the most extraordinary minds.” But the most fun was laughing with people like (Ransom author) David Malouf and then going back a passage for the book to them and seeing their reaction. For the most part, they can’t even remember writing it, and oftentimes they were quite surprised how much they enjoyed it. That was so beautiful.’ In the first episode, Karvan reads a passage from Craig Silvey’s deeply moving Honeybee, written from the point of view of 14-year-old trans-teen Sam. She hadn’t expected it to be such an emotional adventure. “I was quite ashamed,” she says. “I don’t like to lose it in public, so that was a bit challenging. It added another layer of nerves. The words are really powerful and so much of the material was really moving.” Karvan pauses when asked which book has shaped her the most. “Oh look, I think I’ve been shaped by almost every book I’ve read to the end,” she says, adding that she’s a pretty intolerant reader and doesn’t feel bad putting a book down if it’s her. didn’t grab. “I think every book contains a revelation that changes you forever and takes you on a journey and you learn about human psychology and humanity and different cultures.” While it was definitely an inspiring journey, Karvan laughs when I ask if she now has a burning desire to write her own literary masterpiece. “Yeah, in my next life,” she jokes. “I’ll come back and do that. That idea is now ten times more intimidating. “Just listen to their process and the hard work, the agonizing months and months just trying to crack a sentence or a point of view.” However, she comes up with storylines and scripts for the third installment of Bump – the big hit drama she co-created, produced and starred in about the painfully determined high school student Oly who has a 10-year plan that goes a bit wrong when she unexpectedly goes into school at birth. . The first season broke streaming records. Filming concluded with the second season last month and, pun intended, it is expected to air soon: “I can’t say exactly when,” Karvan teases. “But it will be soon. We have to deliver it like this…” The Books That Made Us, Tuesday, 20.30pm, ABC

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