You don’t expect to meet a former Wallaby rugby international at your local library author talks. The words literary great and rugby don’t usually go together. Peter’s life indicates why generalising about anything or anyone is a pointless exercise.
In 2001, he was Australia’s biggest selling non-fiction author with just under $250,000 in sales. He duplicated that feat in 2004 with his book on Kokoda and had similar success in 2006 with his book on Tobruk. He is here to promote his latest book Eureka: The Unfinished Revolution.
Right away it is obvious that here is a man with the X Factor. A man who is funny and not afraid to be self deprecating. He recounts a story about a time when he found himself in the company of the literary glitterati. He shares the fact he has just finished his first book with the gentleman he is making small talk with, who gently encourages him to read another. The audience is in fits of laughter…is he pulling our legs…?
The event is being held in the largest room in the library, normally set aside for computer users. The audience is more than double the size of visitors that the usual authors attract. It is also an equal mix of men and women, older and younger people, some of whom are just here to be in the presence of one who once played in one of the greatest Wallaby sides. Peter not only shares stories of his literary work and his writing habits but also talks about the days on the playing field. It has been a good nights entertainment but we don’t queue up to buy the book.