Hundreds turn out for Bryce Courtenay’s funeral

The 79-year-old writer lost his battle with cancer last month (Nov12), just two weeks after the publication of his new book Jack of Diamonds.

Courtenay, who sold more than 20 million books throughout his career, was remembered with a service at St Mark’s Church in Sydney and more than 300 guests turned out, including Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard.

Mourners were shown clips from film adaptations of his books Jessica and The Power of One, and the funeral order of service was mocked up to look like the cover of one of his novels.

Courtenay’s Australian publisher Robert Sessions gave the eulogy and he revealed the author refused to feel downbeat about his cancer diagnosis and joked that it would help him sell more copies of his new book.

Sessions told the congregation, “When he told me why (about his cancer), I was speechless – but he wasn’t. ‘This is a great marketing opportunity… with my help (book publishers) Penguin can promote this as Bryce Courtenay’s final book – we should sell twice as many as usual!”’