"I grew up on a farm
of a hundred and forty acres. Steep hills infested with bracken, rabbits, blackberries, thistles, ragwort and cows," said
Dr Don Watson in THE 2003 NATIONAL TRUST HERITAGE LECTURE.1
Born in 1949, near
Warragul in Victoria,
Don Watson is now recognised as one of the most prolific and dynamic writers in Australia. He graduated with a PhD from Monash University in 1977 and worked for ten years as an academic historian.
After leaving academia,
he wrote political satire, speeches for Premiers and Prime Ministers, film scripts and the odd novel or two. In what may be
called his 'spare time' he has written columns, articles and essays for every major Australian journal and newspaper.
How he fitted in the
co-authoring of the Billy Connolly film, The Man Who Sued God, and participated
in the initial planning of the Melbourne Comedy Festival, beggars belief.
Don Watson obviously
enjoys writing – all aspects of it! - from political commentary to humour.
His book, Recollections of a Bleeding Heart: Paul Keating Prime Minister, published in 2002 became a best-seller. However,
it wasn't a biography, but has been described as "… a vehicle for Watson to display his considerable narrative and descriptive
talents."2 It won several major awards across Australia.
In 2003, he rode his
hobby-horse of jargon-hating to produce another best seller, Death Sentence: The Decay
of Public Language. That was followed by: Watson's Dictionary of Weasel Words,
contemporary Clichés, Cant & Management Jargon.
2007 saw the release
of his travel book, American Journeys, reflecting on his experiences and impressions
of five months and 43,200 kilometres travelled in the USA
Dr Don Watson now
lives in Melbourne. We have undoubtedly not seen or heard the last word from him.
1 THE 2003 NATIONAL TRUST HERITAGE LECTURE by Don Watson. http://www.nsw.nationaltrust.org.au/files/watson.pdf
2 Carmen Lawrence, Evatt Foundation. http://evatt.org.au/news/70.html