Posted by: Lisa Hill | May 7, 2011

Meet an Aussie Author: Patrick Allington

FigureheadPatrick Allington is the author of Figurehead, a fascinating book that explored loyalty and honour in journalism, in the context of the Khmer Rouge atrocities in Cambodia.  I discovered it last year when it was shortlisted for the Miles Franklin Award.  (See my review).

It was Allington’s first book and widely admired, so it’s good to learn that he’s currently working on his next one.

Patrick kindly agreed to answer my questions, and has supplied a picture of himself, to prove that he is hard at work at the desk.  (From what he says in reply to Q4, I think he’s done a bit of tidying up first!)

1.  I was born in a seaside suburb of Adelaide called Hove. Not quite as exciting as Brian Castro, born on a ferry in Hong Kong harbour.
2.  When I was a child I wrote stories about talking animals or kid detectives while in my head I played test cricket or kicked the winning goal in the footy grand final. Nothing much has changed.
3.  The person who encouraged/inspired/mentored me to write is/was … where to start? My family, Enid Blyton, Roald Dahl, George Orwell etc etc.  (Needless to say, I never met the last three).
4.  I write in my hopelessly messy study or in bed or in various other rooms in the house or in the garden or on the bus or in coffee shops (I’ve never bumped into J.K Rowling) or at the pub or in the library.
5.  I write whenever I can squeeze it in around jobs that pay by the hour, parenting, life. By choice, 5am – noon.
6.  Research is essential, fun, overrated and best done in random fashion. I like to get my facts wrong with intent.
7.  I keep my published work/s in the study.
8.  On the day my first book was published, I fielded calls from family and friends who were laying siege to their local bookshops.
9.  At the moment, I’m writing (1) a novel about food, drink, evangelism (of a sort) and politics (of a sort), set (sort of) in my hometown of Adelaide (2) an essay about the Miles Franklin Literary Award (see ABR, June).
10. When I’m stuck for an idea/word/phrase, I close my eyes.

And he’s another author you may bump into in a café! Keep your eyes peeled when next you’re having a coffee!

Author: Patrick Allington
Title: Figurehead
Publisher: Black Inc Books 2009
ISBN: 9781863954365

Availability:  Figurehead (Fishpond)


  1. Hi Lisa,

    Thanks for posting my answers. Two little points: I’d like to agree that I was shortlisted for the Miles, but I was actually longlisted. Actually, the day I was longlisted one of my friends rang me to congratulate me on being shortlsted for the Booker: exciting times, or it would have been if in any way true!
    Second point: I did clean up my desk for the photo, but you should see (1) the floor then, and (2) the desk now. I can barely find the keyboard to type.


    • Well, now Patrick, in the interests of authenticity, clearly you must send us a follow-up photo.
      Only joking *warm smile*.
      I will fix the error, sorry about that! But I shan’t be at all surprised if you crack the shortlist before long, I’m very impressed by your writing…
      Best wishes


  2. […] Patrick Allington has written a terrific review at the […]


  3. […] Patrick Allington has written a terrific review at the […]


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