What is missed when people talk about books is the moment of grace when the reader creates the book, lends it the authority of their life and soul. The books I love are me, have become me.

I believe in the verb, not the noun - I am not a writer, but someone compelled to write.

Through the 1990s, the fracturing of Tasmanian Aboriginal politics was given impetus by the ongoing corruption of a number of black organisations started under federal government programmes, with large amounts of public money being lost.

'The Narrow Road to the Deep North' is one of the most famous books of all Japanese literature, written by the great poet Basho in 1689.

You can be very successful but still struggling financially, and it looked like I'd have to take a year or two off and find whatever menial labouring work you can get as a middle-aged, unskilled bald man.

I come from a tiny mining town in the rainforest in an island at the end of the world. My grandparents were illiterate.

Nothing seemed to offer more striking proof to the late Victorian mind of the infernal truth of social Darwinism than the supposed demise of the Tasmanian Aborigines.

I'm a successful novelist, and I've been a lucky one, so I don't want to cry the poor mouth. Writing has never been easy.

I am an admirer of haiku, and I'm a great admirer of Japanese literature in general.

Logging is an industry driven solely by greed. It prospers with government support and subsidies, and it is accelerating its rate of destruction, so that Tasmania is now the largest hardwood chip exporter in the world.

When I was younger, I was full of smart things to say about all my books.

The 2007 Labor campaign was the most presidential in Australian history, with a slogan - Kevin07 - exceeded in its banality only by its success.

A fictionalised memoir of my father would be a failure as a novel.

I went to study at Oxford University in the 1980s on an imperial scholarship instituted by Cecil Rhodes.

War stories deal in death. War illuminates love, while love is the greatest expression of hope, without which any story rings untrue to life. And to deny hope in a story about such darkness is to create false art.

The only accusation of Gillian Triggs with the ring of truth is that she has lost the confidence of the government - but then, so too has Tony Abbott.

My father was the first to read in his family, and he said to me that words were the first beautiful thing he ever knew.

A novel is a journey into your own soul, and you seek there to discover those things that you share with all others.

In Australia, the Man Booker is sometimes seen as something of a chicken raffle.

Unlike some mainland black groups, Tasmanian Aborigines now have no traditional tribal culture left. It was taken from them with great violence and great rapidity.

God gets the great stories. Novelists must make do with more mundane fictions.

I was struck by the way Europeans see history as something neatly linear. For me, it's not that; it's not some kind of straight railway.

In reading, you sense the divine: the things that are larger and greater and more mysterious than yourself.

Look at the history of literature, and you find the history of beauty on the one hand and the IOUs on the other.

Under Malcolm Fraser's Liberal governments in the 1970s, large numbers of refugees fleeing Vietnam in wretched boats were taken in without any great fuss.

You can spend a day in a library and feel: 'Great, I've done a day's work.' But it's only research, not writing.

If 30 Australians drowned in Sydney Harbour, it would be a national tragedy. But when 30 or more refugees drown off the Australian coast, it is a political question.

I had long wanted to write a love story, and I had long - wisely, I felt - shirked the challenge because I felt it the hardest story of all to write.

We like love - we love love - but perhaps its only meaning lies in its ubiquitous meaninglessness. We apprehend it, we feel it, and we think we know it, yet we cannot say what we mean by it.

The number of those identifying as Aborigine in Tasmania rapidly rose in the late 20th century.

Rainer Maria Rilke was admittedly not a Dockers tagger, but a sort of European equivalent: a German poet - in many respects, a charlatan masquerading as a genius who turned out to be a genius.

I hate the way my life has been inexplicably overwhelmed by questionnaires. Life is so much stranger and so much more beautiful than the lists that reduce it to an anorexic assembly of tics and obsessions.

For much of the latter part of the 20th century, Australia seemed to be opening up to something large and good. It believed itself a generous country, the land of the 'fair go.'

I grew up in a world that was clannish - old Tasmanian-Irish families with big extended families.

I said in my acceptance speech that I hope that readers remember this not as the year I won the Booker, but the year that there were six extraordinary books on the shortlist.

Since woodchipping began 32 years ago, Tasmanians have watched as one extraordinary place after another has been sacrificed. Beautiful places, holy places, lost not only to them, but forever.

The problem with making movies is that you have to devote so much of your life to fawning and flattering the men in suits, whereas that doesn't happen in books. You just go and write, and then the book comes out.

A writer should never mark the page with their own tears.

We're a migrant nation made up of people who've been torn out of other worlds, and you'd think we would have some compassion.

Among many other reforms, Australians pioneered the secret ballot and universal suffrage.

The past is there, but life is circular. I have a strong sense of the circularity of time.

Horror can be contained within a book, given form and meaning. But in life, horror has no more form than it does meaning. Horror just is.

I think all novels are contemporary. When people went to see 'Antony-Cleopatra' at the Globe in the 16th century, they were not going to get a history lesson on the Roman Empire. It was about love, sex, and also about dynastic troubles.

The Bradshaws suggests an extraordinary civilisation that existed long before modern man reached the British Isles.

I love all forms of music. I even like music I dislike, because the music you dislike is like going to a strange country, and it forces you to rethink everything and to appreciate its particular joys.

My father, unusually for a PoW, talked about his experiences, but he talked about them in a very limited way.

I was one of six kids; my grandmother lived with us. We had an aunt who used to have nerves, and all her kids would turn up and live with us.

We live in a material world, not a dramatic one. And truth resides not in melodrama, but in the precise measure of material things.

An unskilled middle-aged man can work in the mines, and it pays well.