Posted by: Lisa Hill | November 7, 2014

Brian Castro wins 2014 Patrick White Literary Award

Wonderful news: one of my favourite authors has been awarded the 2014 Patrick White Literary Award!

To see why I admire his work, see my reviews of his books here:

Other novels to seek out and enjoy include

  • Birds of Passage (1983)
  • Pomeroy (1990) (on my TBR)
  • Double-Wolf (1991) (on my TBR)
  • After China (1992)
  • Stepper (1997) (on my TBR)
  • Shanghai Dancing (2003) (on my TBR)
  • The Garden Book (2005) (read before I started this blog)


Here’s the Press Release:

Perpetual announces 2014 Patrick White Literary Award winner

Brian Castro honoured for outstanding contribution to Australian literature

7 November 2014

Perpetual, as trustee, has today announced Brian Castro, acclaimed novelist and essayist, as the 2014 winner of the Patrick White Literary Award.

Benefitting from the proceeds of the Trust of Patrick White’s 1973 Nobel Prize for Literature, Mr Castro will receive $24,000 in recognition of his outstanding contribution to Australian literature.
The Patrick White Literary Award was established by Mr White to advance Australian literature ‘by encouraging the writing of novels, short stories, poetry and/or plays for publication or performance’. For the past 41 years it has been bestowed to an author who has made an ongoing contribution to Australian literature, but may not have received due recognition.

Andrew Thomas, General Manager of Philanthropy at Perpetual, congratulated Mr Castro on his achievement.

“Brian Castro must be commended for his original and prolific contribution to Australian literary culture,” Mr Thomas said.

“His exciting and diverse body of work includes 10 novels, two radio plays, two stage plays, five short stories and a collection of essays on writing and culture.

“Patrick White continues to support our literary community by using the proceeds of his Nobel Prize and is renowned as the first and only Australian who received this honour for literature. As trustee, Perpetual is proud to continue Mr White’s great legacy and the tradition of philanthropic support for the arts through this award.”

Brian Castro was born in Hong Kong in 1950 to parents of Portuguese, Chinese and English descent and was sent to boarding school in Australia at the age of 10. His early childhood experience of the fluidity and range of language has significantly influenced his writing. Throughout his writing career, Mr Castro has explored questions of identity, race, lineage and hybridity using a distinctive provocative and playful style. Mr Castro is recognised as sharing similar qualities in his writing to Patrick White and in 2007 he published an essay, Twice Born in which he paid homage to the Nobel Prize winner.

Reflecting on the unique quality of the Award and Patrick White as author and benefactor, Mr Castro said: “As others have noted, this is an award by a writer for other writers. I cannot think of another Nobel winner who left this kind of legacy. It is not a prize for which you can apply, as it acknowledges a body of work rather than a single publication. It takes in the larger view, and is not about long-lists, short-lists, betting-lists and gossip-lists. I am proud to be amongst such great company as past winners Christina Stead, Randolph Stow and Thea Astley.”

Describing the many merits of Mr Castro’s body of work, the 2014 judging panel said: “His continued willingness to take imaginative risks and be ‘blackly playful’, and his evident potential to produce more significant work make him an excellent recipient of this most prestigious award.”

The 2014 judging panel members included Professor David Carter, Associate Professor Debra Adelaide, and Dr Bernadette Brennan.

Thanks to Jarrah Aguera at Honner Media for the news:)


  1. Another writer you’ve introduced me to, he looks really worth the struggle if you relate him to Joyce & Proust, thank you. The Bath Fugues cover is mesmerising too.
    The New Zealand writer Jack Lasenby has a well deserved award too:


    • Thanks for this, Carol – I just looked Lasenby up on Good Reads because I’d never heard of him – he seems to be a writer of children’s books – and how fantastic that the PMs award goes to a writer of children’s books!


  2. Read his Travellers quartet, world class literature and then after that his most recent Calling the Gods, it is superb and seems to me to crown his work. I haven’t read the work for younger readers yet as I’ve found it less easy to get in to. He isn’t known well in the UK, a disgrace but I buy and give younger readers I know his Traveller novels and I can’t wait for my grandchildren to get old enough to, hopefully, enjoy them.
    When I tried to buy them in Auckland a while ago it wasn’t easy either, I don’t understand why.


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