Robert Drewe is an Australian literary legend with more than 20 highly acclaimed books – novels, short stories and memoirs – that have won state, national and international prizes, been widely translated, and been adapted for film, television, theatre and radio.
Born in Melbourne, he grew up in Western Australia around the Swan River and Indian Ocean, which deeply influenced his life and work, especially his memoirs The Shark Net and Montabello.
After a short career as an award-winning journalist, at the age of 28 he turned from newspapers to fiction writing with his debut novel The Savage Crows. His other novels include The Drowner, A Cry in the Jungle Bar, Grace, Our Sunshine and Fortune, which won the National Book Council’s prize for fiction.
His short-story collections are The Bodysurfers, The Rip and The Bay of Contented Men, which won a Commonwealth Writers’ Prize.
The Drowner, the first novel to win the Premier’s Literary Prize in every State, also won the Australian Book of the Year Prize, the Adelaide Festival Prize for literature and was voted one of the ten best international novels of the decade.
The Shark Net won the Western Australian Premier’s Prize for non-fiction, The Courier-Mail Book of the Year Prize and the Vision Australia Award. Like The Bodysurfers it was also adapted into an ABC and BBC TV mini-series, while Our Sunshine was made into the international film Ned Kelly, starring Heath Ledger.
The Bodysurfers, in print for the past 30 years, has been made an international Penguin Modern Classic. More recent books are The Beach: An Australian Passion, for the National Library of Australia, The Local Wildlife and Swimming to the Moon, both collections of his humorous sketches.
His latest novel, Whipbird (August 2017), is inspired by the misadventures of one of his ancestors, a teenage Irish soldier at the Eureka Stockade. The book explores the ironically diverse nature of the clan at a commemorative weekend gathering in honour of their mutual forebear 160 years later.
His new collection of short stories, The True Colour of the Ocean, will be published in July 2018.
You can find out more about Robert here.