'The remarkable true stories in The Boy Behind the Curtain reveal an intimate and rare view of Tim Winton’s imagination at work and play.
'A chronicler of sudden turnings, brutal revelations and tender sideswipes, Tim Winton has always been in the business of trouble. In his novels chaos waits in the wings and ordinary people are ambushed by events and emotions beyond their control. But as these extraordinarily powerful memoirs show, the abrupt and the headlong are old familiars to the author himself, for in many ways his has been a life shaped by havoc.
'In The Boy Behind the Curtain Winton reflects on the accidents, traumatic and serendipitous, that have influenced his view of life and fuelled his distinctive artistic vision. On the unexpected links between car crashes and religious faith, between surfing and writing, and how going to the wrong movie at the age of eight opened him up to a life of the imagination. And in essays on class, fundamentalism, asylum seekers, guns and the natural world he reveals not only the incidents and concerns that have made him the much-loved writer he is, but some of what unites the life and the work.
'By turns impassioned, funny, joyous, astonishing, this is Winton’s most personal book to date, an insight into the man who’s held us enthralled for three decades and helped us reshape our view of ourselves. Behind it all, from risk-taking youth to surprise-averse middle age, has been the crazy punt of staking everything on becoming a writer.' (Publication summary)
After accepting the Adelaide Festival Award for Literature for this work, Winton announced that he would donate the $15,000 prize money to the campaign to save Ningaloo Reef.
'Six authors nominated for the National Biography awards reveal what most surprised them about their subjects.' (Publication abstract)
'In light of the carnage that lone gunmen have wrought in the United States over the past twenty years, this revelation is chilling and difficult to reconcile with the midfifties grandfather who confidently leaves the National Gallery of Victoria in the collection's final essay, "like a man in boots" (296). While the subsequent two essays find their starting points in Winton's early life- being taken to see Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey by a hapless but well-intentioned friend's mother for said friend's eighth birthday, and a meditation on how "havoc" has shaped his life (particularly his father's catastrophic motorcycle accident when Winton was five)-they also defy easy taxonomy. Winton's passion for Australia as a repository for biodiversity and his commitment to its protection from itself, especially in light of the ugly fact that "Australia has the worst record of mammal extinction in the world" (64), is evident; a number of the essays chronicle various environmental campaigns in which he has fought or whose victory he has celebrated.' (Publication abstract)