Meaghan Wilson Anastasios

Screenwriter and bestselling author of 'The Honourable Thief', 'The Water Diviner', and 'The Pacific: In the Footsteps of Captain Cook.'

As a writer, most of my work is done in a bubble. I do what I do, hand it onto those who craft the words into tangible form, be that a TV series, a book, or a news article. Then comes the odd pat on the back from family and friends when those things make their debut. That’s usually the end of it.

It’s unusual to hear about the things I make having an impact of any sort. And that’s quite OK. The reason for doing this is because I bloody love it. Counterintuitively, what with all the red carpets and gala premieres, it’s never been the career to get into if you’re expecting curtain calls and bouquets.

But today was different. I was listening to the wonderful Jacinta Parsons on ABC Melbourne. She asked her listeners to call in with stories about treasures they’d found. And a woman called Jackie rang in. She’d been working as an aid worker in Cambodia, and decided she’d like to take home a souvenir or two. So, she headed back to Australia with some Khmer antiquities. But since watching my series, Loot, on SBS Viceland, she’s had a change of heart. Now, Jackie wants to return them to the Cambodian people.

To know that a little TV series I’ve pushed hard to get on screen could change the way somebody thinks about an issue I feel so strongly about has knocked me for six. That the answer to Jackie’s dilemma is not an easy one is another question altogether. That’s another problem, for another day.

What I always hoped to do with this series is to convince people to stop and think before they buy antiquities. Because if demand dries up, the looting will stop. It’s that simple.

This series has done its job if it changes even a single person’s mind. So, I guess that means – job done. Thank you, Jackie. From the bottom of my heart.

Though if any of you want to convince me that it’s been worth doing – and worth keeping on doing (with a second series pending… fingers crossed!) – I would love to hear from you.

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