Robert Dessaix is a writer, translator, broadcaster and occasional essayist. From 1985 to 1995, after teaching Russian language and literature for many years at the Australian National University and the University of New South Wales, he presented the weekly Books and Writing program on ABC Radio National. In more recent years he has also presented radio series on Australian public intellectuals and great travellers in history, as well as regular programs on language.
His best-known books, all translated into several European languages, are his autobiography A Mother's Disgrace; the novels Night Letters and Corfu; a collection of essays and short stories (And So Forth); and the travel memoirs Twilight of Love and Arabesques. In 2012 he published the collection of pieces, As I Was Saying. His most recent book is What Days Are For. A full-time writer since 1995, Robert Dessaix lives in Hobart, Tasmania.
Together with The Magic Faraway Tree, this cornucopia of magical lands and creatures, including Moon-Face, Dame Washalot, the Land of Do-As-You-Please and the Land of Dame Slap (now called Dame Snap), unleashed in me and millions of other children across the globe fantasies about being adventurous and travelling to far-off places, as well as ideas about friendship with other girls and boys like Dick and Fanny (now called Rick and Frannie). Nothing since, not even Hamlet, War and Peace or the Famous Five books, has had such a profoundly transforming effect on my imagination. To this day Hobart airport is a (degraded) version of the Faraway Tree. Long live Dick and Fanny.
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