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Nino is doin' orright!
Now in Samoa:
By ANNE DWYER, staff reporter
# Last November a bombshell hit Australian book-stores under the title of "They're A Weird Mob," supposedly an Italian journalist's impres- sions of Australia and Australians, by an unknown
author, Nino Culotta.
IT was an immediate success.
The first edition of 6000 sold out in three weeks, the second as soon as it appeared, and the next three before they reached the shops.
"They're A Weird Mob" now has
created an Australian record for
the quick sale of any book-local or overseas - with 74,000 copies bought in five months.
The ninth edition will be on sale
soon, bringing the total to nearly 100,000 copies.
The tenth edition is in prepara
tion, but the pub- lishers are tempor- arily out of paper. .
Many more thousands of people have read "Weird Mob" in serial form in Australian n e w s papers.
It will be pub- lished in England in September with the
title of "How To Be An Australian"
(many people may not agree), plus a slang glossary so that English readers won't miss any of the finer points.
It also is being considered by American pub- lishers, its adapta- tion as a play is planned, and in July
NINO, one of Wep's illus- trations for "Weird Mob."
it will be broadcast as a radio serial.
The identity of the author, Nino Culotta, was one of the best-kept secrets in the publishing world.
There was quite a stir in January when the author was revealed as an Oatley, N.S.W., pharmacist named John Patrick O'Grady.
O'Grady wrote the second half of his book in New Zealand, on his way to Samoa.
Almost any day, 50-year-old John Patrick-ex-commando, ex-wrestler, and ex a dozen other occupations can be seen riding his motor-scooter in the streets of Samoa's capital, Apia, where he is Chief Pharmacist
and Dispenser for the New Zealand' Government in Western Samoa.
Writing Australia's fastest-selling
GOING TO SCHOOL, Samoan-style, in the village of Salailua, where the people refer to O'Grady as the "Ruler of the House of Medicine" and gave him a kava root, a rare honor. These pictures were taken by Mr. J. Ryan, of Eastwood, 1S.S.W., during a recent visit to Samoa.
best-seller scarcely rippled the calm surface of O'Grady's life in Apia.
"Father regards the whole thing as a marvellous fluke," said his eldest son, John, a Sydney radio writer.
"He has had several very good offers to come home since 'Weird Mob' appeared, but he loves the Samoans and his work, and can't see any good reason to leave.
"Father's very happy about the success of the book, but he's not at all affected by it. He's a very phlegmatic bloke!"
And a very unpredictable one.
"Dad used to get tired of the pharmacy and announce that he was
going for a holiday,
but his idea of a
good holiday was
to walk to Bathurst
and back," John
Another time w hen O'Grady, sen., had a yearn- ing for the out-of
doors he worked as a builder's laborer -and this ¡s how Nino was born.
In choosing Apia for his hom e, O'Grady has fol-
lowed in the foot-
steps of Robert Louis Stevenson, who spent the last four years of his life there, and is buried on the sum- mit of Mount
Vaea, above the
Some of the royalties from "Weird Mob" bought a typewriter which goes with O'Grady on his official inspection tours.
Thus the tap-tap of the type- writer comes from the Fale, the village guest-house, before the "Ruler of the House of Medicine," as he is called, goes to sleep.
These journeys will provide ma- terial for O'Grady's next novel,
a Samoan's view of life in Samoa.
Future plans include a trip around the world next May.
The result of this probably will be a sequel to "They're A Weird Mob," with the main characters, Nino, and his Australian wife, and Nino's builder friend, Joe, and Mrs. Joe,
a hilarious four on a world tour.
NINO CULOTTA, also John Patrick O'Grady, author of Australia's record-breaking best-seller "They're A Weird Mob." looks out to sea across a palm-fringed Samoan beach. Mr. O'Grady, now the New Zealand Government pharmacist for Western Samoa, formerly lived at Oatley, N.S.W.
ABOVE: Mr. O'Grady and Samoan friends enjoy a basket of delicacies, the gift of the village where they stayed the previous night during an inspection tour of some outlying dispensaries.
BELOW: Palauli. a typical village in Western Samoa, where the friendly, dignified people have won the heart of author O'Grady. In less than two years O'Grady has learnt to speak Samoan.