LITERATURE

Robert G Barrett
Australia Crest

Fiction writer brought up in Bondi, when it was not so trendy in the 50s, and leaving school at 14. Robert G went to Bondi Beach Public School and Randwick Boys High, as did another Dinkum Aussie and no close friend of Saddam Hussein, Richard Butler, about the same time. Wonder if they know each other? Robert and Richard that is, not the madman!

Barrett became a butcher and worked as a boner in meatworks in Sydney and Townsville until 1980 when he was injured at work by a falling carcass of meat. It would be good to see what he said on the insurance claim form...."there I was, just standing there, minding my own business, when....." Whilst recovering he did 3 writing courses at the Workers' Education Association and wrote a short story on his larger-than-life character Les Norton which was published as A Hard Man in Australian Penthouse. He was up and running! Soon came You Wouldn't Be Dead For Quids, published in 1984, and now in its 14th reprint. An author was born.

His character of Les Norton boots, scoots, toots and roots his way from Kings Cross to Bondi Beach. As one review said "pray to God they don't get published overseas". Not exactly complimentary to a writer with over 1 million copies of his books sold. However, winners are grinners and R G Barrett can laugh all the way to the bank or his Les Norton paid for house in Terrigal on the beautiful Central Coast of NSW. The first part of the house was paid for from the compo from the meat incident.

To make ends meet (no pun intended re the compo) Bob has worked as a kitchen hand, cleaned toilets and even spent some time in the pokey, cutting out parking fines.

Bob has written gags for disc jockeys on Radio 2SM and acted in A Country Practice on telly and also two forgettable flicks called Bullamakanka and The Empty Beach.

Known for being a shit-stirrer and for his view of the Australian literary establishment being a bunch of wankers, forever holding their hands out for grants and awards, Barrett is reputed to have once worn a Helen Demidenko T-shirt to a writers' convention.

Barrett, aged 56 going on 36, has just released his latest book Goodoo Goodoo published by Harper Collins.

He can be visited at his entertaining website - www.robertgbarrett.com.au

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