Portrait of Robert Drewe

Robert Drewe

Robert Drewe is an Australian literary legend whose more than 20 highly acclaimed books, including novels, short stories and memoirs have won state, national and international prizes, been widely translated, and been adapted for film, television, theatre and radio.

Born in Richmond, Melbourne, he grew up in Western Australia around the Indian Ocean coast and the Swan River, settings which deeply influenced his life and work, especially his memoirs The Shark Net and Montebello. After a short career as an award-winning journalist, at the age of 28 he turned frm newspapers to fiction writing with his debut novel The Savage Crows.

His other novels include The Drowner, A Cry in the Jungle Bar, Grace, Our Sunshine and Fortune, which won the National Book Council’s prize for fiction. His short-story collections are The Bodysurfers, The Rip and The Bay of Contented Men which won a Commonwealth Writers’ Prize.

The Drowner, the first novel to win the Premier's Literary Prize in every State, also won the Australian Book of the Year Prize, the Adelaide Festival Prize for literature and was voted one of the ten best international novels of the decade.

The Shark Net won the Western Australian Premier's Prize for Non-Fiction, The Courier-Mail Book of the Year Prize and the Vision Australia Award. Like The Bodysurfers it was also adapted into an ABC and BBC TV mini-series, while Our Sunshine was made into the international film Ned Kelly, starring Heath Ledger.

The Bodysurfers, in print for the past 30 years, has been made an international Penguin Modern Classic. More recent books are The Beach: An Australian Passion, for the National Library of Australia, The Local Wildlife and Swimming to the Moon, both collections of his humorous sketches.

His latest novel, Whipbird, is partly inspired by the misadventures of one of his ancestors, a teenage Irish soldier in the British Army’s 40th Regiment of Foot, at the Eureka Stockade.