Australian Authors

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White, Patrick (1912-1990)

Patrick Victor Martindale White (1912-1990) is Australia's only recipient of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1973.

Patrick White's grandfather settled in the colony of N.S.W. in the 1820's; however White was born in England in 1912. He and his parents returned to Australia where he lived until he was thirteen years of age when he returned to England for his education.  His four years at Cheltenham College were not happy ones but coped by reading widely and writing poetry.  However, on his return to Sydney he felt as alien in Australia as he had in England.  With no desire to remain on the land he returned to England to read French and German at King's College, Cambridge.  Unlike his early years in England he relished his time at Cambridge, and during this time he continued to write poems, plays and novels.

In November 1940 he was commissioned into the RAF where he served as an operational intelligence officer.  In 1948 he returned to live in Australia with his life-long partner Manoly Lascaris.  Between 1935 and 1987 he published twelve novels, three short-story collections and eight plays. His prose attracted admirers and often detractors, however the Nobel Prize acknowledged his epic and psychological narrative art which has introduced a new continent into literature.'

Library Resources
Web Resources

Library Resources

On the shelves



Short stories


Criticism and interpretation


Study notes

Reference resources


From books

  • 'Patrick White', (2009, in Hanley, Penelope, ed. Creative lives: personal papers of Australian writers and artists, National Library of Australia, Canberra, pp. 97-103.
  • 'Patrick White', (1971), in Kiernan Brian, Images of society and nature: seven essays on Australian novels, Oxford University Press, Oxford, pp.95-147.
  • 'Patrick White's Australia', in Carroll, John, ed. (1982) Intruders in the bush: the Australian quest for identity, Oxford University Press, Oxford, pp. 192-205.
  • 'Patrick White: the artist as a holy monster', in Garner, Helen, (1996), True stories: selected non-fiction, Text Publishing, Melbourne, pp. 103-108.

From newspapers

Web Resources


  • Introduced by Jennifer Byrne, from the ABC Book Club. This is the interview Patrick White granted Mike Charlton, from ABC's Four Corners, on the day after it was announced he had won the Nobel Prize for Literature.


Other resources