EX­CEP­TIONAL LIFE

Anne Sum­mers’ lat­est book re­flects on an amaz­ing ca­reer and ex­tra­or­di­nary life to date

Noosa Life and Style - - THINGS TO DO -

ANNE Sum­mers has led an ex­tra­or­di­nary life filled with myr­iad fas­ci­nat­ing roles and in her lat­est book she hopes to en­cour­age peo­ple, es­pe­cially younger women, to have the courage and drive to achieve an ex­tra­or­di­nary life. Pol­icy maker, po­lit­i­cal ad­viser, board mem­ber, ed­i­tor, jour­nal­ist, pub­lisher, bu­reau­crat, po­lit­i­cal ad­vo­cate and au­thor; Dr Anne Sum­mers has ful­filled all of these roles, and em­braced the chal­lenges as well as the tri­umphs. Her lat­est book, Un­fet­tered and Alive: A Mem­oir, is the ex­hil­a­rat­ing story of a life that has in­cluded ev­ery­thing from ad­vis­ing prime min­is­ters and lead­ing fem­i­nist de­bates to pre­sid­ing over Green­peace In­ter­na­tional and writ­ing in­flu­enc­ing books. She also frankly ex­plores her own fam­ily story, per­sonal anx­i­eties and mis­takes. “I have been very for­tu­nate to have so many op­por­tu­ni­ties and to be able to do so many dif­fer­ent jobs and to travel the world many times over,” Sum­mers ex­plains. “I some­times pinch my­self and think, ‘Did I re­ally do that?’” Sum­mers, who co-founded Elsie, the first women’s refuge in modern Aus­tralia, says by shar­ing her sto­ries in Un­fet­tered and Alive she hopes to en­cour­age peo­ple, es­pe­cially younger women, to have the courage and drive to achieve an ex­tra­or­di­nary life. “As I write in the book, I have had my fair share of set­backs and I haven’t al­ways suc­ceeded, but I have taken the good with the not so good,” she says. “As it states on the back (of my book), ‘I was born into a world that ex­pected very lit­tle of women like me. We were meant to tread lightly on the Earth, in­flu­enc­ing events through our hus­bands and chil­dren, if at all’. “Well that is what I grew up with, that no­tion of tread­ing lightly, but I man­aged to turn my life into some­thing else –some­thing I am very proud of.” Sum­mers has had many ac­co­lades, but one she be­lieves her late mother Eileen Cooper would be proud of is her im­age on a postage stamp. In 2011 Sum­mers, along with three other women (Eva Cox, Ger­maine Greer and El­iz­a­beth Evatt) who made their mark in ad­vanc­ing gen­der equal­ity, joined the ranks of great Aus­tralians to ap­pear on a stamp. “She would have loved that,” Sum­mers says with a throaty laugh. Sum­mers grew up as the el­dest of six chil­dren in a strict Catholic house­hold. She says her fa­ther’s al­co­holism and vi­o­lent moods taught her to be tough. It was that re­silience that Sum­mers says put her in good stead for life. Asked what had been her most ful­fill­ing role to date, Sum­mers replied: “I al­ways take the view that what­ever I am do­ing at the mo­ment is my favourite thing. I don’t want to say one ex­pe­ri­ence or role was bet­ter than the other. Ev­ery­thing has been in­ter­est­ing, ev­ery­thing has been dif­fer­ent.”

PHOTO: CON­TRIB­UTED

Anne Sum­mers

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