Australian author, Patrick Victor Martindale White, was born 100 years ago on 28th May 1912.
Patrick White was born in London but his family moved to Sydney when he was just six months old. Initially sent to a boarding school in the Southern Highlands, NSW, he was sent in 1924 to Cheltenham College in England, something he described as “a four-year prison sentence”. After a period of time back in Australia working as a jackaroo, White returned to England to study French and German Literature at Cambridge University.
Not initially a favourite with the critics in Australia although overseas he was well-regarded, Patrick White perservered with his writing and eventually won the inaugural Miles Franklin Literary Award in 1957 for his novel Voss and in 1973 he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature.
In 1981 an autobiography, Flaws in the Glass: a self-portrait, was published in which Patrick White explored issues about which he had publicly said little, such as his homosexuality, and his refusal to accept the Nobel Prize personally.
Late last year Fred Schepisi’s film The Eye of the Storm was released . Surprisingly, this was the first time a White novel had been brought to the big screen, although many years previously White had been in negotiations with Harry M Miller for a film version of Voss.
Click here to see what we hold of White’s fiction.