Martin Flanagan

Martin FlanaganMartin Flanagan is a storyteller, journalist, poet, author and public speaker. Described as “a legend of Australian journalism” in TIME magazine in 2003 after his last book, “The Game In Time of War”, he was born in Tasmania in 1955 and graduated in law from the University of Tasmania in 1975. He is the author of eight books including “The Call”, an imaginative re-construction of the life of the founder of Australian football, Tom Wills. A stage adaptation of “The Call” co-written by Flanagan will open at the Playbox Theatre in October. Among his other books, “1970 and Other Stories of the Australian Game”, was listed by the Victorian State Library as being one of the top 150 books since Victoria’s inception. He is currently working on a screenplay for a feature film based on the relationship between Irish poet W.B. Yeats and political activist Maud Gonne. Asked his philosophy to do with newspapers, he quotes the great Colombian writer Gabriel Garcia Marquez, himself a former reporter, who said, “The medium is an invitation. It is there to be used”. His Saturday sports column, “One of The Crowd”, takes an equally unconventional look at sport and in 2003 it earned Martin the AFL Coaches’ media award for the best sportswriter.

His writing has appeared in many magazines and in different countries; in 2000, during the Sydney Olympics, he was asked by BBC radio to record a letter from Australia giving his overview of the event. He has appeared regularly on radio programs including “The Search for Meaning”, Radio National’s “Books and Writing” as well as assorted sports programs. As a journalist and writer he has interviewed the likes of George Best, Sir Edward “Weary” Dunlop, Barry Humphries, Ramohan Gandhi, Ron Barassi, Peter Cook, Patrick Dodson, Archie Roach, Paul Keating biographer Don Watson, and singer Paul Kelly. He has had meetings with the Dalai Lama and Queen Elizabeth II. He has spoken in prisons and football clubs and at university graduations and literary festivals. He delivered one of the inaugural Alfred Deakin lectures and more recently a lecture for the Overland literary magazine. One of his most recent speeches was to the AFL Presidents and CEOs before the start of the 2004 season.

Martin speaks on Australian Sport, Culture and Politics. Praise for Martin Flanagan. “Martin Flanagan’s writing is sanguine, intelligent and passionate. It belongs in a newspaper tradition which for some years was thought to be under threat from television… if you hold up your ear to Flanagan’s writing you can hear the roar of the presses and sound of the city going to work . . . he is story teller. He celebrates the special providence in the fall of a sparrow and he rejoices in the house of language”. . . John Clarke “Martin Flanagan must never be allowed to stop writing about football. I say this because he is the only football writer that I have read who is so good I think he could nearly describe a heartbeat and that if you want to touch the essence of football, this what you have to do”. . . . Don Watson