Robert Drewe

Robert Drewe

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Robert is an Australian literary legend whose more than 20 highly acclaimed books, including novels, short stories and memoirs have won state, national and international prizes, been widely translated, and been adapted for film, television, theatre and radio.

Born in Richmond, Melbourne, he grew up in Western Australia around the Indian Ocean coast and the Swan River, settings which deeply influenced his life and work, especially his memoirs The Shark Net and Montebello. 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 (1976).

His other novels include A Cry in the Jungle Bar (1979)Fortune (1986) which won the National Book Council’s Prize for Fiction, Our Sunshine (1991), The Drowner (1996), and Grace (2005)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. His latest novel, 2017’s Whipbird is partly inspired by the misadventures of one of his ancestors, a teenage Irish soldier in the British Army’s 40th Regiment of Foot, at the Eureka Stockade.

Robert’s short-story collections include The Bodysurfers (1983), The Bay of Contented Men (1989) which won a Commonwealth Writers’ Prize, The Rip (2008), and 2018’s The True Colour of the Sea. His non-fiction works include Walking Ella (1999), The Shark Net (2000), Swimming to the Moon (2014) and The Beach: An Australian Passion (2015).

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.