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About the book
  • Published: 30 October 2017
  • ISBN: 9780143784821
  • Imprint: Knopf Australia
  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 384
  • RRP: $34.99

The Drover's Wife

A Collection




A celebration of a great Australian love affair, 'The Drover’s Wife' in the Australian imagination: stories, performances and images.

Since Henry Lawson wrote his story 'The Drover’s Wife' in 1892, Australian writers, painters, performers and photographers have created a wonderful tradition of drover's wife works, stories and images.

The Russell Drysdale painting from 1945 extended the mythology and it, too, has become an Australian icon.

Other versions of the Lawson story have been written by Murray Bail, Barbara Jefferis, Mandy Sayer, David Ireland, Madeleine Watts and others, up to the present, including Leah Purcell's play and Ryan O’Neill’s graphic novel.

In essays and commentary, Frank Moorhouse examines our ongoing fascination with this story and has collected some of the best pieces of writing on the subject. This remarkable, gorgeous book is, he writes, 'a monument to the drovers' wives'.

  • Pub date: 30 October 2017
  • ISBN: 9780143784821
  • Imprint: Knopf Australia
  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 384
  • RRP: $34.99

About the Author

Frank Moorhouse

Frank Moorhouse was born in the coastal town of Nowra, NSW. He worked as an editor of small-town newspapers and as an administrator and in 1970s became a full-time writer. He has won national prizes for his fiction, non-fiction, and essays. He is best known for the highly acclaimed Edith trilogy, Grand Days, Dark Palace, and Cold Light, novels which follow the career of an Australian woman in the League of Nations in the 1920s and 1930s through to the International Atomic Energy Agency in the 1970s as she struggled to become a diplomat. His most recent book published last year by Penguin Random House is The Drover’s Wifea reading adventure. which brings together works inspired by Henry Lawson’s story and examines the attachment Australia has to the story and to Russell Drysdale’s painting of the same name. Frank has been awarded a number of fellowships including writer in residence at King’s College Cambridge, a Fulbright Fellowship, and a fellowship at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington. His work has been translated into several languages. He was made a member of the Order of Australia for services to literature in 1985 and was made a Doctor of the University by Griffith University in 1997 and a Doctor of Letters (honoris causa) by the University of Sydney, 2015.

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Praise for The Drover's Wife

“The creation of the book was motivated by his “curiosity about the unique survival of The Drover’s Wife”. Over all hovers the fertile mind, the guiding hand, not to say elegant prose, of Moorhouse. Nobody in the book uses the word enchantment in reference to Lawson’s story, but I couldn’t help seeing the story as having cast a kind of spell, as Australia being in thrall to The Drover’s Wife. This Moorhouse fiction, included in this book, is one of the most dazzling Australian short stories ever written. The great thing about this story is its naive, reasonable and flawless tone. Many of the storie­s here are very funny, one of my favourites being The Drover’s Wife Club by the hilarious James Roberts. If you want to read an engrossing book that is “a celebration of a great Australian love affair­”, here’s your chance.”

Carmel Bird, The Australian

“This book is a curate's egg, but one that charts a changing Australia. It is in turn annoying and engaging, which is no doubt precisely the intent.”

Lucy Sussex, The Sydney Morning Herald


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