LIVE | Alexis Wright discussing Praiseworthy for Vision Australia

LIVE | Alexis Wright discussing Praiseworthy for Vision Australia

Waanyi writer Alexis Wright is the only author to win the Stella Prize twice - the first time for Tracker and the second time for Praiseworthy.

Alexis is also the author of the prize-winning novels Carpentaria and The Swan Book, as well as Take Power, an oral history of the Central Land Council; and Grog War, a study of alcohol abuse in the Northern Territory.

Alexis was previously the Boisbouvier Chair in Australian Literature at the University of Melbourne, and she is the inaugural winner of the Creative Australia Award for Lifetime Achievement in Literature.

This interview was recorded live for Vision Australia in March 2024, after Praiseworthy was longlisted for The Stella Prize.


ASTRID: Hello, it is Astrid here. On 2 May 2024, Alexis Wright made history. She became the first person to win the Stella Prize twice, the first time in 2018 for her biography, Tracker, and now in 2024 for her novel, Praiseworthy.

Not only has she won it twice, she has won for both non-fiction and fiction. I'm going to go out on a limb and say I think she's in the running for the other two national awards, the Miles Franklin Literary Award and the Prime Minister's Literary Award.

This interview was first recorded live on the 25 March 2024 on behalf of Vision Australia.

Vision Australia and the Vision Australia Library are a remarkable organisation and place. I do encourage you to check them out. Thank you Vision Australia for letting me share the audio and congratulations, Alexis Wright.


* Music intro *


ASTRID: Alexis, welcome and thank you so much for joining us today.

ALEXIS: Thank you, Astrid, and it's a great pleasure to be doing this podcast with you today for Vision Australia Library. I thank them for inviting me to be part of this event today. I also wish to acknowledge the traditional lands of the Wurundjeri people of the Kulin Nation, their Elders, past and present, on whose lands, unceded sovereign lands, that we are speaking on today. I also acknowledge my own people in the Gulf of Carpentaria, the Waanyi Nation and the connected nations in the Gulf, and also all Aboriginal people who are listening today, as well as all the viewers. Thank you for being part of this today.

ASTRID: Alexis, Praiseworthy is a spectacular book. It is very long, it is very large, and it is one of the most beautiful reading experiences I have had in the last several years. Thank you for sharing the story with us.

Everybody here is familiar, I would imagine, with your work. I'm going to do a very brief bio, which I know is a little bit embarrassing when you have to listen to it yourself. I'd like to remind everybody that Alexis, until recently in 2022, was the Chair of Literature at Melbourne University, and that is because of her long record of fiction and non-fiction publishing in Australia. We are here, of course, to talk about Praiseworthy, which was published last year. But before that, Alexis published Tracker in 2018, which did win the Stella Prize, and before that, in 2007, Carpentaria, which won the Miles Franklin Literary Award. As I'm sure you've heard before, Alexis, that makes you the only person in history who has received both the Stella Prize and the Miles Franklin Literary Award, in addition for non-fiction and fiction, which I think is a spectacular achievement. I would like to let everybody know that Praiseworthy has already received the Queensland Literary Award for Fiction. And Alexis, you received Creative Australia's First Lifetime Achievement in Literature.

That is a lot. Praiseworthy changed my experience of reading. Before we get into it, can we please talk about the town of Praiseworthy to set the scene for those who may not have finished listening to or reading the work yet?

ALEXIS: Thank you, Astrid, for that lovely introduction. It's appreciated.

The town of Praiseworthy is a fictional place. It's an Aboriginal township or community in northern Australia. It's a place that has a haze sitting over it, a red ochre coloured haze. It's like an angry ancestor. It's compiled of the events or things that have gone wrong, not caring for Country in the way that it should be, and now we see the unprecedented climate change events taking place.

I might just do one slight little reading of the haze, if you don't mind.

ASTRID: Yes, please.

ALEXIS: Okay. It's just to give you an idea what the haze is.

The story goes…

Hate place was a monument of the moment for some of the poorest people on Earth. A hard bit of magic grown from a corpus of ancient stories that had scattered into mystery by broken spirits creating hell fires. All those endlessly wandering fragments of ancient words were coming together, and forming the lines of stories entombed in smoke clouds circumnavigating the planet.

Now… A ghostly windstorm from out of nowhere came more frequently, came to this place blowing dry leaves, burnt leaves, ash leaves, and spoke of the tragedies in the epical pyres of life. The wind looked at the remains of life in this place, then blew and blew these fragments away in mountainous serpentine waves that hit the soul world of an even greater local spirit and there, dust, ash, memories written on broken butterfly wings with black soot, all backed up into an ochre-coloured haze that ended up sitting permanently over the flatlands of the blessed be thou, and more blessed be I.

That's just a very short reading about the haze.

ASTRID: Thank you, Alexis. Praiseworthy is obviously the title of the work, but much of the story, much of the events and the feeling take place in this town. And while there are many characters in this work, there is a central family, the family of Cause Man Steel, his wife and two children. And again, in order to really let us have a full conversation, would you introduce us to the protagonist, Cause Man Steel and his family?

ALEXIS: Cause Man Steel, he has two other names. One is Widespread and one is Planet. He calls himself Cause Man Steel. He is obsessed with the colour of grey and the power that comes from the colour of grey. Grey suits, the greyness of power in politicians, in warships, jet planes, rocket ships. He's obsessed with grey, the colour grey. He's a culture dreamer. He understands what's happening in the world. He's very attuned to what's happening and he sees the world as being very interconnected and interrelated, and that we're all interdependent and more so we're affected by issues of global warming.

He also has unprecedented events to deal with at home as an Aboriginal man. He doesn't expect any help from government because government has failed so often the Aboriginal world. He wonders if the planet gets warmer, what will it mean for Aboriginal people? Most Aboriginal people are very poor and live in very poor conditions and have lots of major concerns and live in an unprecedented situation on a daily basis. The last 200-odd years from colonisation and ongoing colonisation, so what next with global warming?

Science tells us that the planet will get warmer if we don't do anything about it, stop the use of fossil fuels and things like that, he also understands too that there will be more very poor people in the world. Things like climate change and land grabs and rising seas and droughts in some places, and more and more people will become homeless and in search of refuge and be turned away from other countries and there will be all sorts of crises. He thinks, what can I do to bring my people into the future and in a warming world where the planet becomes hotter? How will I get my people across the burning planet to be able to survive and tell the tale on the other side? Just like our ancestors managed to bring our culture to this day over thousands of years. And in those years, 60,000 years plus, maybe more, there's been times of climate change, ice age and so forth, but they've managed to bring our people to here, to this day.  He has this idea that…

You know, I was thinking about these questions when I was framing the ideas about this book, and I was thinking, what has brought us here? You know, what do our people have to be, the oldest living culture in the world, to be able to survive?

And I think it was in the idea of hope. You know, a lot of people keep telling us to have hope about our situation or whatever. You know, we must have hope, continue to have hope. I don't think it is hope in itself. Hope is not going to get you into a situation where you might survive. I think it really was the desire to survive, to be very proactive in how you do this, to have a plan, you know. What is the plan? You know, what is plan A? What is plan B? And how are you going to take your people into the future?

So the idea with Cause Man Steel and Widespread, because he's always got ideas about, you know, what to do, and so people call him Widespread, he's all over the place.

And he's Planet, he's thinking planetary all the time. You know, we've got issues here, right here. But he's thinking about all over the place, so they have names for him.

But with Widespread, he had a dream one day, one night. And in this dream, he sees this donkey. He gets a glimpse, then he gets a couple of moments and he glimpses a donkey. And it's a particular colour grey. He believes he has to find this donkey.

And this donkey, what the vision tells him is that he must set up this major transport conglomerate for the time when we run out of fossil fuel. So he has this idea, we've got five million feral donkeys in northern Australia, and he will build this colossal international transport conglomeration. He's dead set on this plan. He's got an old, very old broken-down Falcon that he drives around in, and he uses this Falcon sedan to go on these huge epic journeys around all over Australia, searching for this particular donkey of this particular colour grey. It's a platinum grey. All donkeys are grey, but he's searching for a particular shade of greyness. So he spends years, a long time, trying to find this perfect donkey.

So that's part of his story. And his community don't thank him for this at all. He manages to catch donkeys and he can only bring back one at a time. So these journeys are huge and they're epical. And he thinks that he's found the right donkey that must lead this conglomeration because it will have particular powers that will steer the course for the work that this conglomeration will do. But by the time he gets back to Praiseworthy, and he's caught the donkey and he's seen the donkey, the shade of grey in the particular light of where he was, in the bush somewhere around the Country, when he gets back to Praiseworthy, it's a different light. It's the wrong grey. It's always the wrong grey.

It's not platinum grey. And so it becomes a big, big, big journey.

Anyway, his wife is Dance, and she has an affinity and cultural affinity with butterflies, particular butterflies and moths. These butterflies and moths take up a great part of her life and her thinking and her soul, her spirit. She's on a journey of her own, and they live in the cemetery of the town, which is her Native Title land that is hers. And there's big arguments in Praiseworthy about native title, which is, you know in reality what has happened with Native Title law, the way it was constructed and the way you could claim for Native Title has led to a lot of disputes between Aboriginal people.

So these things are happening in town, as well as the issue about assimilation. You know, the people, the Aboriginal people who are in positions as the mayor of Praiseworthy, the Council, they want this town to be a tidy town. It is a tidy town. You know, it's on the road to assimilation, so that they can get the support from government to do things as long as they suit the government in terms of becoming more assimilated into the mainstream of Australian life instead of continuing to have very firm beliefs about culture and believing that Aboriginal people have a right to determine their own future and to be able to govern that in some way.

Dance is left to look after these donkeys. As Widespread continues his journeys to find this perfect grey donkey, he expects her to look after the donkeys while he's away. He doesn't think it's a big deal to look after hundreds of donkeys with very few resources to do that. So she's left with his donkeys in the cemetery, and the township don't like this because they can't go and visit their graves or their families. They have to construct little webcam speakers beside each grave so they can speak from the outside of the cemetery to their dear ones. They don't like this. They have to shout out to Dance to go and look after the graves and fix them up properly. And she just pretends she doesn't hear on any of this. So that is Dance, and she has a big part in the book.

The oldest son, he's about 17 or 18.His name is Aboriginal Sovereignty. Widespread gave him this name when he was born because he wanted him to remember who he was. He was Aboriginal Sovereignty, and he is seen as the light of the community, and their belief in Aboriginal Sovereignty will carry that belief into the future. They have high expectation for this boy. But things go wrong under Australian laws for this boy. He tries to commit suicide, egged on a bit by his younger brother who is about 7 or 8.

His name is Tommy Hawk. And Tommy Hawk, on the day that he was born, his father took one look at him and said,’ this child is a fascist’. And he had a bush name for him, but he said, no, you can't have that name. Call him what you like. So, he became Tommy Hawk. Tommy Hawk is a very smart boy.

It's a work of fiction, it's an imagined world, but it's a world that's also affected by issues of government intervention in their lives and the ideas that were influenced in the book by what actually happened in the Northern Territory. The Intervention was rolled out on Aboriginal communities in the Northern Territory by the federal government to change the national narrative about support for Aboriginal people, which had been built through the Reconciliation process. And this little boy, what happened, it was rolled out in a very hostile way, and through the media, through politicians, through anybody who thought that it was alright to say anything they like about Aboriginal people, and they did, and a lot of it was really, really toxic. This was all broadcast through the media, through radio, television, newspapers, social media, and it went on and on.

This little boy… What I thought when I was thinking about writing this book was, what happens to our children? Our children can hear all this. How do they become affected?

You know, by hearing all this being said about Aboriginal communities and Aboriginal parents? You know, Aboriginal parents don't love their children like white people love their children. Communities are overrun with paedophiles and abusive parents et cetera, et cetera. Violence and that. This little boy, he's quite ambitious too.

He has a lot of desires about how he sees his life in the future. He's quite influenced by what he hears. He becomes addicted to listening to all this stuff. The more he hears, the more he engages with it, to the point he wants to leave Praiseworthy. He wants to be adopted by the Australian government for Aboriginal peoples and the minister for Aboriginal people who is the mother of Aboriginal children. So that's how he sees it. He wants to be adopted by her. He wants to live in Parliament House. He wants to live in the Big White Palace in Canberra and have a good life and be rich and grow up powerful and be like an Australian politician. This is the story of Tommy Hawk, and he's quite willing to do anything it takes to make this happen.

He becomes very desperate because he's become obsessed with all this. He's won through competitions in the school, he's won presents from the government. He has a new iPhone, he has a new iPad and all that Apple technology. He texts Parliament House, he texts the minister's office all the time. ‘Call me, call me’, because he expects her to fly up to Praiseworthy and pick him up and take him to Parliament House to live. This doesn't happen, of course. His texts and messages go unanswered, and his situation becomes very desperate.

And the losing of Aboriginal Sovereignty in the sea creates a big question and dilemma in Praiseworthy about people's belief in searching for Aboriginal Sovereignty. They go to the beach every day and they scan the horizon and they're looking for any trace of him. They want him to come back. They're lost without him, and that becomes a big issue in their life and reignites their understanding and feeling about their Aboriginal Sovereignty.

ASTRID: Alexis, the scope of this work is vast. As you just introduced us all through the central characters and the family, I have seen reviewers and I struggle myself to find the words to accurately convey what you have done here. I've seen Praiseworthy described as epic, as elegy, as parable, as allegory, as satire.It can be all things at once. I wanted to ask, how do you think of the work or other people's attempts to describe what you have done in this work?

ALEXIS: Astrid, I don't really think much about the reviews. There's been a lot of reviews. I'm really pleased that they've been all good reviews. I can't complain about that. The book has come out in the UK at the end of last year, to really good reviews from many sources over there, in national newspapers and journals and things like that. And it's just come out in the US in New Directions in New York, another really fantastic independent publisher, led by Barbara Epler, who's totally amazing. And same with my publisher here in Australia, Ivor Indyk, a German publisher. I think he's the best publisher in the world. He waited for a long time for this book, more than he ought to have waited.

But I was working with Tracker when I started to do this book. Tracker Tillman, the Eastern Arnhem Land leader and visionary, to do his book, which became the collective memoir Tracker. And after that, I was working with Melbourne Uni, as Boisbouvier Chair in Australian Literature, and also trying to do this book. And I finally finished it.

The journey of writing the book… it is the journey that really keeps me going. I thought hard and long about this book, about how to do it and the questions that I was asking. I really believe that things that are happening in the world, they're so significant and important, because it's in the future of all of us, that I think that we really need epic books to talk about these things. I remember Edward Said once saying, we ought to be able to say and at length that what you do, you do not do in my name.

I think I've been on a journey as well, you know, of the way I want to write. That's been building over a long period of time to reach this stage. I've been very concerned about the old times, of building the old times in the work, so that you always acknowledge where you come from and not just where you go and where you are right at the moment.

And that's the old times, which is something else I learned very early when I started to think about how to write. And I was looking at writers from all over the world.

Carlos Fuentes, the great Mexican writer, once said, all times in Mexico are important and no time has ever been resolved.  I saw that. I said, that's exactly what I was wanting to do here. This is exactly it, that we can't ever forget where we come from.

And that's unbroken culture. Those are the things that I'm interested in when I'm working. I was interested in, like I said, I wanted to create a work… it's important these days to create works of scale, to meet the scale of what's happening around us.

We have to be able to do it and to think about it and to put that effort in. I believe there should be a much better literature world where literature is taken really seriously. So we learn. We don't seem to learn properly about what's happening to people and to each other and to other people.

I see that here as an Aboriginal person, and what happens to us, all my life. The more we talk, the more we try to reason and create understanding. People just don't seem to get it. The Referendum last year, and the referendum asked for very minor things and not what it should have been asking for. And still, 60 per cent voted against it. People who are living on unceded Aboriginal sovereign land, what's happening here?

I really feel that we need to work on scale and books, and we need to be able to learn how to read on scale and to learn from it. It's another writer, I can't remember his name right at the moment. I thought it was very funny when he said you should give your brain cells a workout, just like you give your body a workout in the gym, you know? Give your mind a workout as well. There's no harm in that, and that love of reading and passion for reading and to read widely and to try to understand all kinds of things about the world outside of our own backyard.

ASTRID: I could not agree with you more. I would like to share something with you. I consider myself a very good reader. I have read the Western epics. I read because I love it. And I failed the first time I picked up Praiseworthy because I hadn't checked my own reading habits. I went in probably assuming some kind of linear narrative, and you don't give a linear narrative. You are operating on such a different time and within times and through time. You mentioned time before, but I wanted to go further into that and really ask you, how did you discover how to do that on the page and completely change what is the reading experience? I essentially started again and when I let go of my preconceptions and relaxed into a state of reading that I hadn't let myself do for many years. Alexis, often I read on the clock, it was so beautiful and such a personal wonderful experience for me. But how did you technically do that? It must have been extraordinarily difficult.

ALEXIS: I'm not sure, Astrid. There's a few things there. You know, much of what's in my consciousness to many people and many people in our own world. And to my grandmother, who I had great access to as a small child because I ran away from home. From about the age of 3, I jumped the front fence and go down to her place and be with her. And nobody would say anything because my grandmother was the head of the family. She had lots of grandchildren, but I became like a shadow to her. From a very early age, she had her own way of seeing the world. I think I opened my eyes to it.

We're connected and to all things, it's all related. And that's just her natural way of being. And through the people I work with, some of the best important wisdom Elders from our time, I was very fortunate to know or to have learned from.

When I did Carpentaria, I wrote an essay about writing Carpentaria. It felt to me, you know, I'm looking at it afterwards in retrospect, that it felt like a multi-stranded helix that was spinning with stories and stories from all times that they come. Everything's, I don't know, it becomes natural to you if you hear people talk, you spend your life listening to people talk in this way, and their understanding is both ancient and modern. It's building that, but it's also in the writing, it's the building of imagination, imaginative ideas that come and you continue to build on it and build on it. That's how I work. It's an imaginative thing. You're working with imagination. I work with imagination. And I'm very lucky and fortunate to be able to be able to do that. Not a lot of people get that opportunity.

ASTRID: We are lucky to be able to listen to and read and engage with your work, all of them fiction and non-fiction. We are speaking today because of the Vision Australia Library. And just a reminder to everybody, Alexis, your previous works, The Swan Book and Carpentaria, are both available in Braille. And The Swan Book, Carpentaria and Tracker are already available in DAISY, the audio device. Can you talk to us about what it is like for you to experience your written work performed by someone else?

ALEXIS: I seem to be so busy that I don't have time to listen. And I haven't had time to listen to The Swan Book, which is read by my good friend Jacqui Katona, who is a Mirrar woman from Arnhem Land. That's where her family come from. She is a very important woman. And she is such a strong person. And she has just finished reading Praiseworthy. And so Praiseworthy is coming out. And that's what you will get in your library. And I can't wait to hear it. She is also doing her PhD at the moment, and she needs to finish her work. The offer was made to her to do the reading for Praiseworthy.

And I said, Jackie, you are too busy. You can't do this. And you don't have to do this.

And she said, I am going to do this. Because she didn't want me to leave it to anybody else to do it. And she just thought they wouldn't do it good enough and do it justice.

And I know Jackie will do it justice. And I'm sure she has. And I can't wait to hear it because it's such a huge book to read.

ASTRID: I cannot wait to listen to the audio version, Alexis. I think that Praiseworthy is a truly remarkable work. I suspect that you will be listed for many, many prizes. I don't think that literary value necessarily aligns with prizes, but in this case, I think it's very much going to. That should be my little disclaimer out there. But I looked at the judges' report that The Stella Prize put out when you were long listed for Praiseworthy earlier this month, and they described Praiseworthy as ‘cannon-crushing’. That's very flattering. But I wanted to unpick what they might mean there. Calling Praiseworthy cannon-crushing, not that I think you necessarily care about literary prizes, but what does it mean to you? Or maybe was this your aim? To challenge literature that has existed on this continent so far?

ALEXIS: I think I am challenging literature. But mostly I'm challenging myself. I knew from very early on that a certain way of writing was not right for me. It wasn't what I wanted to do, and it didn't excite me. I searched high and low throughout the world for ideas and understanding that brought me closer to how I hear stories and how I understand our culture. I wanted to bring in a type of writing in this Country that belongs more to the Country, given all the issues that we have here. What concerns me most is the journey and the challenge, you know, and the risk taking that I put into the works that I do. I don't talk to anybody about my work while I'm working on it, and I learned that very, very early on I have, you know, I've come through a system where, you know, in our own world where we have many mentors who are senior people, really wise people who understand this country upside down, would never ever get lost in it. They know everything. They see it through different eyes. They see it through their heart, through their soul, through their spirit in ways that it's very hard to understand. They see it and understand it and feel responsible for it and how responsibility and law is shared here. You have mentors like that, and then you want to write.

Well, how do you find the equivalent mentor in the literary world to understand how you might do that type of writing that you need to do and feel bound to do? There are some people who became my mentors even though I didn't know them. One such person was someone Seamus Heaney, the great Irish poet. He taught me a type of calmness, a calmness in literature. I've never met him. I went to Dublin once for a literary event and spoke on radio there. I went and saw the swans. The radio announcer told me where to find swans in Dublin. He ran out and told the taxi driver to take me right there. I did research in swans for The Swan Book then. When I went to the airport, I felt that Seamus Heaney had spoken to me. The taxi driver told me where I'd find Seamus Heaney every morning at 6.30, walking on a particular beach in Dublin. I said, no, no, I'm not going to do that. He doesn't need to be disturbed by the likes of me. But at the airport in Dublin, they have these big banners in the airport with poems of Seamus Heaney. I was walking around the airport and when I noticed that there were these banners, I looked at one. The one I looked at straight away, the first one I looked at was with a poem telling me where to find swans in Ireland and County Clare. He had spoken to me. He told me where to go find swans. But people like that spoke to me more than that they would ever know. It helped me to take those journeys into the way that I write, the type of writing I've been building and trying to understand the ways of doing it.

Praiseworthy, this particular rhythm and beat, I knew I had to write off-key in an Aboriginal chord. That was the heartbeat. Up in the Gulf, people say that we are of one heartbeat. So what is the heartbeat? The heartbeat is the heartbeat of Country and the slow beat. I was listening to a particular type of music when I was doing this book.

yidaki, didgeridoo music, an instrument that comes very much from the soul of Country. Clapsticks, women singing, ceremony. It's a particular beat and the tone and the rhythm in Praiseworthy.

ASTRID: Alexis, we have a question from Christina. Christina asks, what did you mean by reading on scale or reading at scale?

ALEXIS: I mean on writing on scale to meet the scale of what's happening in the world and thinking about issues of global warming and the impact on the world. It's a worldwide emergency at the moment. It will continue to be and it will continue to get worse if we don't do something to stop this or stop the world from heating at the rate that it's heating already and the impact that it's having on people's lives, and people in the Pacific Islands who are saying already that their communities are suffering from, their homeland is suffering from rising sea water.

All those issues that are associated with global warming and the science has been telling us, these huge reports come out all the time from the science community, leading scientists and telling us these things. I think if it works in literature, we need to be thinking about these issues. What is literature for really? We need to be writing about things that are important and affect us and affect our future. We have to write on the scale, of the scale of things happening. And being able to understand how to read it as well. I mean, it's not easy, it's not easy to write books, it's not easy to write a small book, let alone a big book. I think these things are really necessary if we want to start thinking in the right way, for all of humanity and not others, and as you see so often today.

ASTRID: Alexis, that was a very eloquent answer. Thank you. I'm aware that we are coming to the end of our time. There is a question here. Just briefly, Alexis, this is from Marie and some others. If someone has not yet read your work or listened to your work, where would you want them to start?

ALEXIS: I'm not sure. Some people say that they, who are coming to my work now, they say that they'll read Carpentaria first, and that might be a good idea, and then move to Praiseworthy, or The Swan Book and then Praiseworthy. I'm not sure. It's what people feel that they're able to do and where they would like to start. I like to think they're good books, and try to write them so they can last a distance. Praiseworthy is a very funny book in lots of ways.

I had a lot of fun writing Praiseworthy in parts, and I think you just try to enjoy the journey and stick with it as you read. I remember a countryman of mine saying once to a schoolteacher, he said, I found Carpentaria difficult to read, and he said, the way to read it is just to keep reading. And you keep reading, and then you keep on reading, and then you'll start to get it. So perhaps that's the way it is, is perseverance. I don't know.

I read a lot of literature. One of my most favourite authors at the moment is László Krasznahorkai, the Hungarian writer. For a few years now, I've read everything that he publishes. He writes sometimes thick books about 400 or 500 pages that are one sentence, and it's a lot of work to stay with that, but it's exhilarating to read. His work and to take on board, just his capacity to do this... You organise your brain to continue with and persevere, and usually by the end of it, you're very sorry that it's finished.

ASTRID: A moment ago, Alexis, you said that you hope your works last a distance. I want to say I do think that your works do and are going to last a distance. Finishing Praiseworthy was deeply special to me. I think that maybe, Alexis, you are the person on this continent to have written something that stays in print for centuries or millennia. I think this might be the one. Thank you for sharing it with us. It's so beautiful.

ALEXIS: Thank you, Astrid. It's really nice for you to say that. That's lovely. That's really, really good. Thank you very much.

ASTRID: Thank you all for being here.

ALEXIS: Thank you.