WHEN Nicole Kidman was asked by fellow actress Reese Witherspoon to help get the rights to an Australian book, she organised to meet the author in a Sydney coffee shop.
But Australia being Australia, it didn’t quite go to plan.
Big Little Lies writer Liane Moriarty turned up to the cafe in Darlinghurst, in Sydney’s hip inner-suburbs, but it didn’t seem to be open.
“I thought to myself, ‘I wonder if they’ve closed the cafe just for her (Kidman)’,” Moriarty told 60 Minutes. “I don’t know. Maybe that’s the way things are done.
“And so I walked around the back and I could see the staff and so I thought I should make meaningful eye contact with them, and I said, ‘Are you closed?’ And they said, ‘Yes’. And so I looked at them and said, ‘But are you closed for everyone?’ And they said, ‘Yes. We’re closed for everyone. Get out.’”
Despite the awkward start, the pair found somewhere else to meet and Moriarty said Kidman was “lovely and warm and very down to earth”.
Kidman told 60 Minutes: “We were just like two Australian women discussing our lives”.
Moriarty agreed to sell the rights to Kidman and Witherspoon and the television series starring the two actresses went on to win eight Emmys and four Golden Globes.
It’s also helped Moriarty gain recognition in her own country.
The 51-year-old became a best-selling author in the US before her books were successful in Australia. She topped the New York Times bestseller list twice before she was finally invited to the Sydney Writers’ Festival.
“Of course you want to be recognised in your own country,” Moriarty said. “Maybe it just makes the success sweeter that I had to do so many events where there was nobody in the audience.”
The mother of two quit her job as a copywriter and starting writing 15 years ago after her sister Jaclyn published her first novel. Another sister Nicola is also a successful novelist.
“I say I felt envy, and I also felt a sense of rage. But the rage was really against myself because Jackie had gone ahead and achieved our childhood dream. And I hadn’t even tried,” Moriarty said.
She has now sold 14 million books and Kidman has already snapped up the rights to her new book Perfect Strangers.
Kidman also has the rights to Moriarty’s second book The Last Anniversary.
“(Moriarty) proves to people that you can do this, you can sit in your house in the suburbs of the north shore and write a novel that changes your life,” Kidman said.
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Originally published as Sydney cafe snubs Nicole Kidman