Things My Father Taught Me

Things My Father Taught Me

Things My Father Taught Me

How did you become the person you are today?

Stern, playful, encouraging, hard-working, tough or loving – no matter how we describe our own father, he leaves an indelible imprint.

For the better part of a year, Claire Halliday interviewed a range of Australian personalities across TV, radio and print media, sport, politics, singers/performers, chefs and more, who spoke candidly about the impact their father has had on their lives, shaping them into the person they are today. We hear about the lessons they've learned from their fathers, and how they've set the course for the lives they have come to lead.

The stories are mature reflections on how a father shapes, nurtures, and complicates a life. These are stories of fondness, gratitude, respect and regret. They are insights into an area of human experience where small moments can have a large and lasting impact. A father can be many things: generous, heroic, nurturing, inspiring, difficult; he guides us in our growth, he teaches us about the world. And all the while he is his own person.

Featuring the stories of Danny Katz, Ann Peacock, Anthony Callea, Darryn Lyons, David Koch, Joe Hildebrand, Kerri Pottharst OAM, Neil Mitchell, Normie Rowe AM, Catriona Rowntree, George Calombaris, Paul West, Jo Stanley, Christian Wagstaff, Em Rusciano, Matthew Reilly, Rev Tim Costello, Paul West, Father Bob Maguire, and Santo Cilauro... as told to Claire Halliday.

Claire Halliday is an experienced journalist, copywriter, and author. She began her writing career doing features for The Sunday Age and, since then, has published more than 1000 articles in prominent magazines and newspapers. She has a strong interest in the lost art of listening and has honed interviewing skills that help her share powerful, compelling stories. Her books include Things My Mother Taught Me (Echo) and Do You Want Sex With That? (Penguin).

Things My Father Taught Me
Bonnier Publishing
Author: Claire Halliday
RRP: $29.99

 

Interview with Claire Halliday

Question: What inspired you to write Things My Father Taught Me?

Claire Halliday: It's that idea of nature versus nurture that, as an adopted person, I'm a bit obsessed with. I did Things My Mother Taught Me in 2016 and this follows on from that one - I thought it would be interesting to talk to some well-known Australians about their relationships with their dads to get a sense of how we become who we are and what we learn about ourselves, and the world in general, from that important father figure in our life.


Question: What did you learn, about yourself, when writing Things My Father Taught Me?

Claire Halliday: When I hear stories that are about such loving relationships between fathers and children, it makes me think about my own relationship as a parent to my four kids - and if there are things I can do differently. It definitely made me think about the relationship I had with my father - both my adoptive dad and the birth father I eventually connected with, too. There are aspects of my relationship with my dad that I wish I could change - especially those teenage years when I detached and rebelled and just wasn't very nice to him - but if I have learned one main thing through working on this book, it's that, although you can't change the past, you can use the lessons you've learned from it to create a better future.


Question: What did your father, teach you?

Claire Halliday: My dad taught me to work hard and help people and that family time matters. The other thing he taught me is that I'm better off without too much alcohol in my life. Growing up with a dad who drank every day has helped me see the benefits of a nice cup of tea instead.


Question: Which of the shared stories of Things My Father Taught Me, surprised you most?

Claire Halliday: Journalist Joe Hildebrand, from Studio 10, tells a crazy story about a father who was completely out of touch with the responsibilities of parenthood - a story that's painful and sad but inspiring at the same time because Joe's created his own template of what being a great dad should be, despite what he was taught by his own father. What surprised me in other people's stories - in a nice way - was the openness that people had about sharing the love they have for their dads. David Koch, Catriona Rowntree, Em Rusciano, Tim Costello, Anthony Callea, Ann Peacock, and others in the book, have such great love for their fathers and they are happy to show it.


Interview by Brooke Hunter


Things My Father Taught Me
Bonnier Publishing
Author: Claire Halliday
RRP: $29.99




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