This blog is about the life and work of Australian novelist, Katharine Susannah Prichard, the art and process of writing a biography, and other things which interest me, including autobiographical posts, and reflections on books, film, religion, politics, urban myths, mortality, and found objects. It began in 2007 (although I had another similar blog from 2003 to 2006 which was lost when the platform Modblog disappeared). From January 2014 to March 2017 I maintained a separate biography blog (https://biographerinperth.wordpress.com) before merging the two blogs – all posts from that site have been imported to this one.
I’m a writer, reader, and librarian living in Perth, Western Australia with my wife, Nicole and two young children. My novel, The Fur, won the T.A.G. Hungerford Award and was published by Fremantle Press. I have a Master of Arts in Creative Writing from the University of Western Australia. I’ve been working on the biography of Katharine Susannah Prichard for my PhD thesis since 2014, supervised by Tony Hughes D’Aeth and Van Ikin.
Living out her long life a century ahead of me, much of it in Perth, Katharine Susannah Prichard intrigues me. She was a woman of generosity, passion and paradox. She was a great novelist who brought to life communities in her fiction, from timber workers in the south-west of WA to a family circus. Politics was key to her life; she was a founding member of the Australian Communist Party, and lived her life by her convictions. She was also a wife and then widow to a war hero, Hugo Throssell; his suicide followed that of her own father.
Writing a life is a complicated and interesting endeavour, and part of my project is to understand and utilise the possibilities of biography. It is a genre I came to after writing a novel for my MA about a biographical quest. I realised biography is a genre which combines the appeal of narrative with the allure of the archives and the hope of capturing the past.
The National Library of Australia selected this blog for preservation in its PANDORA web archive project.
I am available to give talks and run workshops on a variety of topics, including the life and legacy of Katharine Susannah Prichard and biographical research and writing. I can be contacted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Fur (Fremantle Press, 2004) [novel]
– Winner TAG Hungerford Award (2003)
– Shortlist for YA section of WA Premier’s Award (2004)
“The Zealot” (Review of Australian Fiction, 2014) [novelette] – available as an ebook for $2.99.
“Archaeologist,” Westerly Special digital issue: Crossings (2017) [creative non-fiction]
“Relics of Kattie,” Studio (2016) [creative non-fiction]
“‘The Memory of a Storm’: The Wild Oats of Han and the childhood of Katharine Susannah Prichard, 1887 to 1895.” Westerly 60.2 (2015): 116-128. [essay]
“A History of Vose Library.” In Vose Seminary at Fifty 140–58. Preston, Vic.: Mosaic Press, 2013. [essay]
Vose Seminary at Fifty: From “Preach the Word” to “Come, Grow,” Preston, Vic.: Mosaic Press, 2013. [editor of book with John Olley and Michael O’Neil]
“Death in the Present Tense.” Studio 117 (2010): 19–26. [short story]
“The Tragedy of Robert Wadlow.” DotDotDash 2 (2009): 32–33. [creative non-fiction]