8:00pm – Thursday, February 9 on ABC1
Australia’s blockbuster novelist, Bryce Courtenay, plundered his own incredible life story to create his internationally bestselling books and films. But when he put the story of his son’s tragic death into print, it scarred the family forever. Today, as Bryce Courtenay struggles to complete his next book, his family reveals the difficult and complex truths behind the larger-than-life fiction.
“He’s a great storyteller. If truth is a problem there, well whose truth?” Celeste Coucke, Bryce’s daughterin-law.
For the past twenty years, Bryce Courtenay has reigned supreme as Australia’s bestselling novelist. It’s said that every home has at least one of his books on the shelf; and every year, he writes a novel for Christmas that generates ten million dollars for the Australian publishing industry.
This is the story of a man conditioned from childhood to win, and who discovered himself in his imagination. But the journey has come at a cost.
For Bryce, a good story always comes first. His work takes precedence over everything. It means there is little time to spare for his family – and even his new bride sees little of him when he’s working. And, when he wrote about his own family’s tragedy, everyone suffered the consequences.
Nothing has stopped him – until now. In 2011, fate dealt Bryce a cruel blow. Ill health has cost him a deadline. For the first time in twenty years, there was no Bruce Courtenay blockbuster in the bookshops for Christmas, and a man for whom stories are life, faces an uncertain future.