The Education of Young Donald trilogy is Donald Horne’s autobiographies — The Education of Young Donald (1967), Confessions of a New Boy (1985) and Portrait of an Optimist (1988). They’re the story of an Australian prophet; his years away from home, the gallery of characters he meets on the journey, the “successes that were failures and failures that were successes”, and his unexpected emergence as a voice of the nation. Seventeen years after his passing, analysis of his legacy feels timely in a country still dumbly surfing on its luck.
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Kerryn Goldsworthy is an Adelaide writer and critic, former lecturer in literature, and winner of the 2013 Pascall Prize and the 2017 Horne Prize. Her most recent book is Adelaide.
Julia Horne is professor of History at the University of Sydney. She publishes widely on Australian cultural and educational history. Her next book, Australian Universities (co-edited with Matthew Thomas), seeks to improve the public conversation about our public universities, and will be published at the end of 2022.