Welcome to Nathan Hobby’s blog! 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.
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 in 2004. (Sadly, it is now out of print.) I am an honorary research fellow at the University of Western Australia and completed my PhD there in 2019, a biography of the early life of Katharine Prichard supervised by Tony Hughes D’Aeth and Van Ikin. I also hold a Master of Arts in Creative Writing.
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)
“‘As My Great Day Approaches’: Katharine Susannah Prichard in 1969.” Westerly 64.2 (2019). [creative non-fiction]
“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]
“The Zealot” (Review of Australian Fiction, 2014) [novelette] – available as an ebook for $2.99.
“Immortalities” [novel] and “Biographical quest in the Twenty-first Century: the origins and future of a genre reconsidered” [dissertation], University of Western Australia, MA Thesis (2013) – available as a PDF.
“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]
The Early Life of Katharine Susannah Prichard – my thesis in three minutes (2017)