Acknowledged as one of Australia's finest writers, Randolph Stow was born in Geraldton, Western Australia, in 1935. He graduated from the University of Western Australia and lectured in English at the Universities of Adelaide, Western Australia and Leeds. In addition to his writing, Randolph worked as a teacher and sometime anthropologist and for many years he lived in Sussex, England (his ancestral home). His works included novels, plays, poetry and children's books.
His best-known novels include To the Islands (one of the first books published by Penguin in Australia, in 1963), Tourmaline and, what many regard as his finest work, The Merry-Go-Round in the Sea. He also wrote the hugely popular children's novel Midnight. Stow was awarded the Miles Franklin Award for To the Islands, and in 1979 he was awarded the Patrick White Award. Randolph Stow died in May 2010 at the age of seventy-four.