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History / Politics > World / Australia

Love & Fury

Judith Wright & 'Nugget' Coombs

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Love & Fury


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Love & Fury concerns the life and works of two remarkable Australians, Judith Wright and H.C. 'Nugget' Coombs. Our story begins with their correspondence, released by the National Library in Canberra in 2009, making public for the first time one of the best-kept secrets in Australian literary and political public life - the twenty-five year clandestine relationship between Wright and Coombs.

The story of their meeting, their love and their shared passions provides unique insights into the dreams and disappointments of a generation. Judith Wright, among Australia’s foremost literary figures, poet, essayist, activist, dedicated herself to writing and fighting for a more humane Australia. Her passion was the land and the first Australians. She was often furious about what she saw as the betrayal of both. Her creative enterprise as a poet engaged deeply with very contemporary concerns of philosophy and language.

H. C. ‘Nugget’ Coombs (1906– 1997) and Judith Wright (1915–2000) are without doubt two of Australia’s most admired figures.

Nugget Coombs, the policy intellectual, 'sage', advisor to governments at the highest level from Curtin to Whitlam and beyond, devoted the last decades of his life to the most rigorous commitment to Indigenous Australia. They each had enormous ambitions for Australian culture and society; their meeting in the early 1970s - Nugget was 66 and Judith 57 - was at a time of great optimism that must have mirrored for both of them, the early post war when shared ambitions for a new kind of Australia seemed achievable.
This is a story of two people whose love, work and knowledge have much to tell us still.

Judith Wright was one of Australia's foremost literary figures, a poet who dedicated herself to fighting for the land and Indigenous rights, a concern she shared with Nugget Coombs. He was a policy intellectual, Governor of the Reserve Back and instrumental in Indigenous Australia.

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