A man with long sandy-coloured hair smiles in a studio shot with a black background

Tim Winton on Blueback, Ningaloo, and 40 years of writing

Tim Winton recalls a recent moment when he led his elderly mother to the beach, to help her into the water. His mum de el had been a swim teacher as a younger woman, but she was now too frail to swim on her own. As Winton and his wife held his mother in the ocean, they were both very aware that this was a scene that Winton had imagined, and committed to paper, more than 20 years earlier.

In one of the most moving scenes of Winton’s 1997 novel Blueback, the protagonist Abel cradles his aging mum in the water that she loves. “We come from water,” the mother whispers to her are from her. “We belong to it, Abel.”

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