126/128-144 Pound Street
Grafton, NSW 2460
Grafton Library and Penguin Random House proudly present a morning with Gregory Smith, author of Out of the Forest.
Gregory Smith had a childhood brimming with violence, abuse and confusion.
His father was a violent alcoholic, his mother hardly the maternal type. As children, Gregory and his four sisters were told they were going to visit 'Aunty Muriel'. Instead they were taken to an orphanage in Armidale, where they remained for the next two years until reclaimed by their parents. While there, like others in care, Gregory was the victim of physical, psychological and sexual abuse - now known as Forgotten Australians.
Gregory spent many of his adult years wandering the east coast of Australia, fluctuating between employment and homelessness. He struggled to make human connection, turning to drug addiction, alcoholism and a battle with mental health; his childhood had scarred him for life, and made meaningful relationships a frightening prospect. Around 1990, Gregory decided to give it all up and retreated into the forest outside of Mullumbimby, just north of Byron Bay. He lived on the fringes of society in the dense, green wilderness, foraging for food, always mindful of his impact on the environment. People in neighbouring towns knew of this mystery man, yet knew nothing about him.
When he emerged from the forest ten years later, emaciated and close to death, Gregory decided it was time to turn his life around. The boy who left school at the age of fourteen became a man who worked to get a university admission, and ultimately earned a PhD in Sociology. Out of the Forest is the uplifting and touching memoir of a man who demonstrates in the most profound way that while our lives can go way off track, we can still find our way back.
This is a free event, but bookings are recommended. Contact Grafton Library for bookings and enquiries.
02 6641 0100