His speech could well be called ‘The World has Lost its Way. Does writing matter?’
‘All around us we see words debased, misused and become the vehicles for grand lies. Words are mostly used to keep us asleep, not to wake us. Sometimes, though, writing can panic us in the same way we are sometimes panicked at the moment of waking: here is the day and here is the world and we can sleep no longer, we must rise and live within it.
This writing has woken me from a slumber too long. It has panicked me. The stories are very short, what might be called in another context “flash fiction”. Except they are true stories.’ RICHARD FLANAGAN.
Read the full text of his speech here: