White, Patrick

White, Patrick

White, Patrick, 1912-90, Australian novelist, b. London. Raised in England, he returned to Australia after World War II, earning his living by farming and writing. His novels—often set in the Australian outback—usually portray the suffering of extraordinary people. His style relies heavily on description. His novels include The Happy Valley (1939), The Aunt's Story (1948), The Tree of Man (1955), Riders in the Chariot (1961), The Vivisector (1970), The Eye of the Storm (1974), The Twyborn Affair (1980), and Memoirs of Many in One by Xenophon Demirjian Gray (1986). The Cockatoos (1975) is a collection of short stories. In 1973, White was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature.

See his autobiography Flaws in the Glass (1981); biography by D. Marr (1992); studies by G. Laigle (1989), L. Steven (1989), and P. Wolfe (1990).

(born May 28, 1912, London, Eng.—died Sept. 30, 1990, Sydney, N.S.W., Austrl.) Australian writer. As a youth White moved between Australia and England, where he attended Cambridge University. After serving in the Royal Air Force during World War II, he returned to Australia, which he saw as a country in a volatile process of growth and self-definition. His somewhat misanthropic novels often explore the possibilities of savagery in that context; they include The Tree of Man (1955), Voss (1957), Riders in the Chariot (1961), and The Twyborn Affair (1979). His other works include plays and short stories, the latter collected in The Burnt Ones (1964) and The Cockatoos (1974). He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1973.

Learn more about White, Patrick (Victor Martindale) with a free trial on Britannica.com.

The Patrick White Award is an annual literary prize established by Patrick White. White used his 1973 Nobel Prize in Literature award to establish a trust for this prize.

The $25,000 cash award is given to a writer who has been highly creative over a long period but has not necessarily received adequate recognition. Such writers are automatically eligible without the necessity for submissions.

Previous winners

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