telling stories

"In October 2000, I interviewed Margaret in regard to her then new novel 24 Hours. She interrupted me midway though one of the constipated little questions about the book I’d worked out in advance, fiddled with her blouse and said, grinning, ‘Would you like to see my tattoo?’ As part of her research for 24 Hours, she visited a tattoo parlour and had a pirate skull with a rose between its teeth etched on her right shoulder. It pleases me that I was one of the panel of judges who made Margaret the recipient of the Prime Minister’s Award for Literary Achievement in Fiction in 2005. When she got up to speak at the awards ceremony at Government House, however, it was clear that Margaret was not her usual brilliantly articulate self. She kept repeating herself, then suddenly she began to giggle and told the audience, ‘You’ll have to forgive me – I’ve been on the gin since 1pm.’ Margaret was one of a kind. RIP.” — Iain Sharp

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