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David Malouf

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Title: David Malouf  
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Subject: Australian literature, Miles Franklin Award, International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, University of Queensland Press, Patrick White
Collection: 1934 Births, 20Th-Century Australian Novelists, 21St-Century Australian Novelists, Als Gold Medal Winners, Australian Expatriates in Italy, Australian Expatriates in the United Kingdom, Australian Living Treasures, Australian Memoirists, Australian Novelists, Australian Opera Librettists, Australian People of English-Jewish Descent, Australian People of Jewish Descent, Australian People of Lebanese Descent, Australian People of Portuguese Descent, Australian People of Portuguese-Jewish Descent, Australian Poets, Australian Short Story Writers, Fellows of the Royal Society of Literature, Gay Writers, Lgbt Novelists, Lgbt Writers from Australia, Living People, Male Short Story Writers, Miles Franklin Award Winners, People from Brisbane, People of Portuguese-Jewish Descent, Prix Femina Étranger Winners, University of Queensland Alumni, Writers from Brisbane, Writers from Queensland
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David Malouf

David Malouf
Born David George Joseph Malouf
(1934-03-20) 20 March 1934
Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
Occupation novelist, short story writer, playwright
Nationality Australian
Genre Novel, short story, poetry, theatre, opera libretto

David George Joseph [1]


  • Personal life 1
  • Career 2
  • Themes and subject matter 3
  • Books 4
    • Novels 4.1
    • Short story collections 4.2
    • Poetry collections 4.3
    • Non-fiction 4.4
    • Plays 4.5
    • Libretti 4.6
  • References 5
  • Further reading 6
  • External links 7

Personal life

Malouf was born in Brisbane, Australia, to a Christian Lebanese father and an English-born mother of Portuguese Sephardi Jewish descent.

He was an avid reader as a child, and at 12 years old was reading such books as [1]

He has lived in England and [1] Like many writers, he values his privacy and enjoyed living in Tuscany "where he could think and write in anonymity".[2]

He is openly gay[4] and has one sister, Jill Phillips.


His first novel, Johnno (1975), is the semi-autobiographical tale of a young man growing up in Brisbane during World War II.[5] It was adapted for the stage by La Boite Theatre in 2004. In 1982, his novella about three acquaintances and their experience of World War I, Fly Away Peter, won The Age Book of the Year fiction prize. His epic novel The Great World (1990) tells the story of two Australians and their relationship amid the turmoil of two World Wars, including imprisonment by the Japanese during World War II; the novel won the Commonwealth Writers' Prize and the French Prix Femina Étranger.[5] His Booker Prize-shortlisted novel Remembering Babylon (1993) is set in northern Australia during the 1850s amid a community of English immigrant farmers (with one Scottish family) whose isolated existence is threatened by the arrival of a stranger, a young white man raised from boyhood by Indigenous Australians. It also won the Commonwealth Writers' Prize (South East Asia and South Pacific Region, Best Book), and in 1996, it won the first International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award.

In 2007, his short-story collection Every Move You Make won The Age Book of the Year Award for Fiction and the Queensland Premier's Literary Awards, Australian Short Story Collection – Arts Queensland Steele Rudd Award.[5] Australian critic Peter Craven described it as "as formidable and bewitching a collection of stories as you would be likely to find anywhere in the English-speaking world".[2] He goes on to say that "No one else in this country has: the maintenance of tone, the expertness of prose, the easeful transition between lyrical and realist effects. The man is a master, a superb writer, and also (which is not the same thing) a completely sophisticated literary gent".[2]

Malouf has written several volumes of poetry, three collections of short stories, and a play, Blood Relations (1988). He has written [1] His memoirs, 12 Edmondstone Street, were published in 1985.[5]

Malouf was awarded the Pascall Prize for Critical Writing in 1988.[6] In 2008, Malouf won the Australian Publishers Association's Lloyd O'Neil Award for outstanding service to the Australian book industry[7] He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 2008.[8]

Malouf says, on being a writer: "I totally reject the idea of being representative in any way. This whole idea of role models. It's a terrible idea. I don't like the idea of being some kind of representative consciousness of the country. You do what you do, the way you do it, out of a kind of necessity. I can't see how that would be useful to anyone else".[2]

Themes and subject matter

Malouf's writing is characterised by a heightened sense of spatial relations, from the physical environments into which he takes his readers—whether within or outside built spaces, or in a natural landscape. He has likened each of his succession of novels to the discovery and exploration of a new room in a house, rather than part of an overarching development. "At a certain point, you begin to see what the connections are between things, and you begin to know what space it is you are exploring."[9] From his first book Johnno, his themes have focused on "male identity and soul-searching".[2] He said that much of the male writing that preceded him "was about the world of action. I don't think that was ever an accurate description of men's lives".[2] He believes that it was Patrick White who turned this around in Australian writing—that White's writing was the kind "that goes behind inarticulacy and or unwillingness to speak, writing that gives the language of feeling to people who don't have it themselves".[2]

He said that "I knew that the world around you is only uninteresting if you can't see what is really going on. The place you come from is always the most exotic place you'll ever encounter because it is the only place where you recognise how many secrets and mysteries there are in people's lives".[2] However, after nearly four decades of writing, he has concluded that in older writers there's sometimes "a fading of the intensity of the imagination, and ... of the interest in the tiny details of life and behaviour—you see [writers] getting a bit impatient with that."[10]



Short story collections

Poetry collections



  • Blood Relations (1988)



  1. ^ a b c d Australian Authors – David Malouf
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Gilling, Tom, "David Malouf: Writer", The Weekend Australian Magazine, 2–3 August 2008, p. 28
  3. ^
  4. ^ Abblitt, Stephen. "Journeys and Outings: a case study in David Malouf's closet". Australian Geographer. Retrieved 30 March 2011. 
  5. ^ a b c d David Malouf Overview
  6. ^ "Pascall Prize for Critical Writing". Geraldine Pascall Foundation. Retrieved 27 June 2008. 
  7. ^ "Brooks wins Book of the Year award", The Sydney Morning Herald, 15 June 2008
  8. ^ "Royal Society of Literature All Fellows". Royal Society of Literature. Retrieved 10 August 2010. 
  9. ^ , Part 1The Wordshed – David Malouf, in the House of Writing on YouTube, accessed 30 August 2009
  10. ^ , Part 4The Wordshed – David Malouf, in the House of Writing on YouTube, accessed 30 August 200.9
  11. ^ ABC Radio National Boyer Lectures, 1998 Boyer Lectures

Further reading

Giffuni, Cathe. "The Prose of David Malouf," Australian & New Zealand Studies in Canada, No. 7 June 1992.

External links

  • David Malouf at Random House Australia
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