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Mick: A life of Randolph Stow

2017 - Shortlisted


Judges comments

Suzanne Falkiner’s Mick: A life of Randolph Stow is the first comprehensive biography of one of Australia’s greatest writers. Falkiner has pieced together an intriguing life history, from Stow’s beginnings in rural Western Australia, to his wandering years, and his later retreat into near silence and more-or-less contented obscurity in England. We note the biography’s extraordinary scholarship — involving exhaustive research and expert handling of the material — and its subtle, cumulative sense of this incredibly complex and difficult subject. While Mick is not a ‘lit-crit’ study of Stow’s works, it richly contextualises those works within the broader arc of the writer’s life. It reveals how he wove into his fiction and poetry various strands of his life experiences, travels, relationships, torments and his search for meaning. Stow’s elusiveness makes him an unusually challenging subject for a biographer, and this superb biography has met the challenge. 

About the author

Suzanne Falkiner is a Sydney writer. After growing up in country New South Wales and attending the University of NSW she spent two years travelling in Asia, Europe and South America. From 1977 she has worked at various publishing and editing jobs in Sydney, as well as starting her own imprint, Valadon Publishing. She has also lived in Paris, Umbria, and New York, where she completed postgraduate courses at Columbia University.  Author of some dozen books of fiction and nonfiction, from the mid 1980s she has combined being a full time writer with freelance editing, book reviewing, travel and other journalism.  In 2005 she was awarded a Doctorate of Creative Arts at UTS, Sydney.

Along with the biography Mick: A life of Randolph Stow, her most recent publications include The Imago: E. L. Grant Watson & Australia (2011) and Mrs Mort’s Madness (2014). She has previously been shortlisted for the Vogel Award, the Queensland Premier’s Literary Award, and the NSW Premier's History Awards.