Randolph Stow

Saturday 29 August 2.30 – 4pm, 2015

Metcalfe Auditorium, State Library of NSW

Sometimes we forget about the great when revelling in the new.  In its annual Honouring Australian Writers series, the NSW Writers’ Centre addresses this by paying tribute to writers who have made an important contribution to our literary culture.

In 2015 we turn to the West Australian writer, Randolph Stow.  Perhaps best known for The Merry-Go-Round in the Sea and To The Islands, which won the Miles Franklin Award, Australian Literary Society Gold Medal and the Melbourne Book Fair Award in 1958.  He was also awarded the ALS Gold Medal for his poetry in 1957 and won the Patrick White Award in 1979.

A writer fond of silence, known for the metaphysical and existential qualities of his writing but also a master at evoking the Australian landscape, Randolph Stow embodied contradictions. Geordie Williamson, says of him in The Burning Library, ‘In him, as in no other non-indigenous writer in our literature, landscape and mindscape are one.’

Honouring: Randolph Stow brings together Gabrielle Carey, author of Moving Among Strangers a memoir about her family’s connection to Stow, Suzanne Falkiner whose biography will be released in 2016, Richard Tipping a poet and producer of a documentary on Stow, and West Australian author Alice Nelson (The Last Sky) whose career has been inspired by him.


Susan Wyndham wrote about the event in the Sydney Morning Herald here.

To read an introduction and research materials gathered by NSW Writers’ Centre Program Manager Julia Tsalis, click here.

Nicolas Rothwell wrote about Stow in the Weekend Australian here.






The Honouring Australian Writers series is made possible with support from the Copyright Agency Cultural Fund and the State Library of NSW.



Gabrielle Carey started writing as a teenager and published her first co-written book, Puberty Blues, in 1979. She has since written, In My Father’s House, a biography of her father, Waiting Room, a memoir of her mother, and a book of personal essays, So Many Selves. Her most recent book, Moving Among Strangers, is an exploration of her family’s connections with the Australian novelist and poet, Randolph Stow. It was the joint winner of the 2014 Prime Minister’s Award for Non-Fiction and short-listed for the 2015 National Biography Award. Carey teaches non-fiction writing at the University of Technology, Sydney.


Alice Nelson was named one of the Sydney Morning Herald’s Best Young Australian Novelists for her first novel, The Last Sky, which also won the TAG Hungerford Award and was shortlisted for The Australian/Vogel Literary Award and the Barbara Jefferis Award. She is also the author of the recently-released After This: Survivors of the Holocaust Speak. Alice is currently completing her Doctorate of Philosophy at the University of Western Australia and is at work on a second novel.



Suzanne Falkiner is a Sydney writer. Author of twelve previous books of fiction and nonfiction, her most recent books include The Imago: E. L. Grant Watson & Australia, UWAP 2011 and Mrs Mort’s Madness, Xoum 2014. She has been a shortlisted in the Vogel Award, the Queensland Premier’s Literary Award, and the NSW History Awards.  Her biography Mick: A Life of Randolph Stow is scheduled for publication with University of Western Australia Publishing in February 2016.



Richard Tipping has a doctorate on ‘Word Art Works’ from the University of Technology, Sydney, and lectured in media arts for many years at the University of Newcastle. He has published five books of poetry and held over twenty solo exhibitions of textual objects in Australia, Europe and the USA. His artpoem signs are available in gallery shops internationally, including New York’s Museum of Modern Art.


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