What Next You Bastard?

As Ken Hall and his family were reassured by doctors that he was bound to die young, he spent most of his childhood in hospital and, as a consequence of not obliging the medical staff by turning up his toes, he was never taught to read or write.

Published in 2001, this is Ken Hall's story; growing up surrounded by a ward full of dying men, joking and mucking about with family and friends, of struggling to get work that didn't involve literacy, constantly hiding his inability to read, finding the good with the bad but never feeling miserable for himself.

Far from being lazy or stupid, Ken is an articulate man and Monica McFerran has merely lent the printed words to Ken's voice.

Many times, throughout his adult life, Ken has tried to learn to read and write but is unable. Until this biography of his exciting larrikin life was published, his own children were unaware of his illiteracy, so well had he hidden it.

What Next You Bastard ? was the question Ken would laconically throw towards the heavens whenever something had turned sour but he didn't wait for any answers; he simply got on with living.