Written by Jenny Brady on Saturday, September 29th, 2012

Bryce Courtenay received an honourary doctorate from the University of Canberra and said this generation was the most intelligent the world had ever seen.

“The world is discombobulated; it is in a terrible mess, and it is your job, your privilege, to get us out of this mess,” he told the university students.

“You have to dare your genius to walk the wildest unknown way. We are depending on you. Don’t bugger up.”

He was using his best storytelling voices while telling the students what the most important thing in life is.

“Life isn’t about having things. It’s not about a Mercedes Benz convertible; it’s not about a penthouse,” said the Australian author.

“I beg you, please, do not stop when you think you’ve got a nice tidy job, when you think you’ve done well or you think life is easy. That’s when you begin. You have got to have a dream.”

Courtenay didn’t reach his dream of being a storyteller till the ripe old age of 55, when his son died from AIDS (contracted during a blood transfusion). Since that time, he’s had over two decades as a bestselling author and 20 novels – with one more due out this year.

His best known work is The Power of One, published in ’89, which was adapted into a film starring Stephen Dorff, Morgan Freeman and Daniel Craig. It’s his only novel to have made it Stateside.

Courtenay announced earlier this month that he had terminal stomach cancer. The doctors have told him he only has months to live, but he is satisfied that he has had a fulfilling life.

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