The City of Perth Library, UWA Institute of Advanced Studies and Boffins Books are delighted to present Robert Drewe on Whipbird, in conversation with Professor Robyn Owens, Deputy Vice-Chancellor UWA.
Comic, topical, honest, sharply intelligent, and, above all, sympathetic, Robert Drewe’s exhilarating new novel tells a classic Australian family saga as it has never been told before.
Can't make it? We'll happily have a copy of Robert Drewe's Whipbird signed for you. Simply contact us via phone, email, online or visit us in-store, and we'll take care of the rest.
Kungadgee, Victoria, Australia. A weekend in late November, 2014. At Hugh and Christine Cleary's new vineyard, Whipbird, six generations of the Cleary family are coming together from far and wide to celebrate the 160th anniversary of the arrival of their ancestor Conor Cleary from Ireland.
Hugh has been meticulously planning the event for months - a chance to proudly showcase Whipbird to the extended clan. Some of these family members know each other; some don't. As the wine flows, it promises to be an eventful couple of days. Comic, topical, honest, sharply intelligent, and, above all, sympathetic, Robert Drewe's exhilarating new novel tells a classic Australian family saga as it has never been told before.
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 frm newspapers to fiction writing with his debut novel The Savage Crows
His other novels include The Drowner, A Cry in the Jungle Bar, Grace, Our Sunshine and Fortune, which won the National Book Council’s prize for fiction. His short-story collections are The Bodysurfers, The Rip and The Bay of Contented Men which won a Commonwealth Writers’ Prize.
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.
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.
The Bodysurfers, in print for the past 30 years, has been made an international Penguin Modern Classic. More recent books are The Beach: An Australian Passion, for the National Library of Australia, The Local Wildlife and Swimming to the Moon, both collections of his humorous sketches.
His latest novel, Whipbird (published August 2017), 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.