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Robert Drewe Robert Drewe i(A696 works by) (a.k.a. Robert Duncan Drewe)
Born: Established: 1943 Melbourne, Victoria, ;
Gender: Male
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Robert Duncan Drewe grew up in Perth. He worked as a journalist for the West Australian in 1961, was columnist and literary editor at the Australian from 1970-1974, and bureau chief at the Age from 1965-1970. He was a special correspondent in 1976-1976, and from 1980-1982, and a foreign correspondent from 1973-1980 for the Bulletin. He has won a number of awards for his journalism work, including two Walkley Awards for his work at the Bulletin.

In the 1970s, he turned to fiction, beginning with The Savage Crows. Since then, he has written another six novels (as of 2017, when Whipbird was released), and numerous short stories, plays, biographies and autobiographies, and columns.

Drewe was an Australian Creative Fellow from 1992-1996, and Writer-in-Residence at the University of Western Australia in 1976, and at La Trobe University in 1986. He holds an honorary doctorate in literature from The University of Queensland and an honorary doctorate of letters from the University of Western Australia.

Drewe writes novels, short stories, drama and critical material. His tone has been described as bleak, and his style frequently ventures into black comedy. His thematic interests include the clash between Aboriginal and white culture; the different roles available to individuals in Australian society; cultural mythology and the moral and social responsibilities of the media.

His work has been adapted for film, radio, theatre and television and has won national and international awards, including the Commonwealth Writers Prize and Premier's Awards for literature in NSW, Victoria, and Western Australia (including all three for The Drowner).



Most Referenced Works


  • A tape of an interview with Drewe by Annamarie Jagose is held at SUA.

Awards for Works

y separately published work icon The True Colour of the Sea Camberwell : Hamish Hamilton , 2018 14212049 2018 selected work short story

'The long-awaited new collection of short stories from Australia’s master of the short-story genre.

'An artist marooned on a remote island in the Arafura Sea contemplates his survival chances. He understands his desperate plight and the ocean’s unrelenting power. But what is its true colour?

'A beguiling young woman nurses a baby by a lake while hiding brutal scars. Uneasy descendants of a cannibal victim visit the Pacific island of their ancestor’s murder. A Caribbean cruise of elderly tourists faces life with wicked optimism.

'Witty, clever, ever touching and always inventive, the eleven stories in The True Colour of the Sea take us to many varied coasts: whether a tense Christmas holiday apartment overlooking the Indian Ocean or the shabby glamour of a Cuban resort hotel.

'Relationships might be frayed, savaged, regretted or celebrated, but here there is always the life-force of the ocean – seducing, threatening, inspiring.

'In The True Colour of the Sea, Robert Drewe – Australia’s master of the short story form – makes a gift of stories that tackle the big themes of life: love, loss, desire, family, ageing, humanity and the life of art. '  (Publication summary)

2019 shortlisted Queensland Literary Awards Australian Short Story Collection - Steele Rudd Award
2019 winner Colin Roderick Award
y separately published work icon Montebello : A Memoir Hawthorn : Hamish Hamilton , 2012 Z1884113 2012 single work autobiography

'Montebello continues where Robert Drewe's much-loved memoir The Shark Net left off, taking us into his mature years. In the aftermath of events, both man-made and natural, that have left a permanent mark on the landscape and psyche of Western Australia - the British nuclear tests in the Montebello Islands, the mining boom, and shark attacks along the coast - Drewe examines how comfortable and familiar terrain can quickly become a site of danger, and how regeneration and renewal can emerge from chaos and loss.

'With humility, wit and a clear-eyed view of himself, he intertwines these stories with the events of his own life. His passion for islands - which began with Rottnest Island in his youth and continues to this day - frames the narrative; in the near-solitude of these remote places, he is free to reflect. This is a moving story of what it means to see and survive destruction, to love and to grow old.' (From the publisher's website.)

2013 longlisted 'The Nib': CAL Waverley Library Award for Literature
2013 shortlisted National Biography Award
2013 shortlisted Western Australian Premier's Book Awards Non-fiction
2013 shortlisted ASAL Awards ALS Gold Medal
y separately published work icon The Rip Camberwell : Hamish Hamilton , 2008 Z1522488 2008 selected work short story

'Set against the backdrop of the Australian coast, as randomly and imminently violent as it is beautiful, The Rip reveals the fragility of relationships between husbands and wives, children and parents, friends and lovers.

'You will find yourself set down in a modern Garden of Eden with a disgraced Adam seeking his Eve; sharing the fears of a small boy in a coastal classroom as a tsunami approaches; in an English gaol cell with an Australian surfer on drug charges; and witnessing a middle-aged farmer contemplating murdering the hippie who stole his wife.'

Source: Publisher's blurb (Penguin ed.)

2009 shortlisted Queensland Premier's Literary Awards Arts Queensland Steele Rudd Australian Short Story Award
Last amended 31 Aug 2021 09:09:51
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