Remembering Patrick White

It’s 100 years since the birth of maybe the greatest Australian writer (certainly the most internationally renowned Australian writer), Patrick White, so it was nice to come along to a panel session of the Melbourne Writers Festival dedicated to his life and work.

Sophie Cunningham talked about how reading White inspired her to begin writing, Allison Croggon talked about White’s plays and how they were too undervalued, Rodney Hall talked about the ‘five great books’ that Patrick White gave us, and his relationship with the man and Peter Craven talked about The Tree of Man and what that meant to him and also how scandalous it was that recent writers like White and Stead were neglected. 

However, the highlight was probably David Marr (White’s biographer) who talked personally about his writing about White, and how Marr saw his mission as ‘saving Patrick White from anecdote’, reminding us of the integrity of the vision of White’s vision of himself as an artist and that his whole life journey was to try to find himself and who taught us something about the ‘sacred in the ordinary’ along the way.

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