‘Twenty years ago, when I first arrived on the plains, I kept my eyes open. I looked for anything in the landscape that seemed to hint at some elaborate meaning behind appearances.'
The famous opening lines of Gerald Murnane's The Plains might describe the author's own approach to his work as much as that of the story's unnamed narrator. Murnane, however, has been writing and searching – seeking revelation beyond the surface of things – for much more than 20 years. A perfectionist and cult hero, his career spans more than four decades and 13 books, including 10 strange, masterful novels (Inland, A Million Windows and Border Districts among them).
In recent years, thanks to heightened international press and academic attention, Nobel Prize rumours and some high-profile fans (Teju Cole has described Murnane as a 'a genius on the level of Beckett'), there's been a growing appreciation of Murnane's work in Australia and abroad.
At this event, he appears in a rare conversation with Sean O'Beirne to discuss his life and work.
Gerald Murnane was born in Melbourne in 1939. He is the author of eleven works of fiction, including Tamarisk Row, The Plains, Inland, Barley Patch, A History of Books, A Million Windows, and Border Districts, and a collection of essays, Invisible Yet Enduring Lilacs. He is a recipient of an Emeritus Fellowship from the Australia Council, the Patrick White Literary Award, the Melbourne Prize for Literature, the Adelaide Festival Literature Award for Innovation and the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award. He lives in western Victoria.
Sean O'Beirne is a Melbourne bookseller and critic. His first book, a collection of short stories and satirical pieces, will be published by Black Inc. in early 2020.