Anna Stewart Officers at launch of book on refugees

Thomas Keneally signs copies of A Country Too Far at the UTS launch.

Two Anna Stewart Officers, Marianna Valeri and Geraldine Pavincich attended the launch of the recently released anthology of stories, memories and poems, A Country Too Far, on the moral challenge of asylum-seeking in Australia today.

The launch was held in a hidden-away lecture room at the UTS in Broadway — a place so secret the flyer had incorrect information on it! Despite this setback a posse of six assorted, concerned citizens found the correct location in the vast labyrinth of the UTS.

Edited by UTS creative writing lecturer Dr Rosie Scott and author and commentator Thomas Keneally, A Country Too Far showcases a wealth of literary pieces by leading writers.

Three of the contributors told us of their motives and decisions to collaborate in this venture. Each speaker, Scott, Keneally and softly-spoken Associate Professor Debra Adelaide, outlined the idea of Australia’s loss of compassion and innocence. They wanted to present a human face to this issue that has dominated the political landscape.

Afterwards an open forum was conducted, with questions and comments being offered by a varied and riveted audience. The consensus of the meeting was that a co-ordinated effort was needed to combat stereotypes and racism.

Finally, books were purchased and the three presenters offered to sign copies. It is hoped that this project could become a catalyst for optimism and fresh thinking about an issue that has developed into a highly emotive issue.