Louis Nowra i(203 works by) (birth name: Louis Doyle)
Born: Established: 1950 Melbourne, Victoria, ;
Gender: Male
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Louis Nowra was born in Melbourne and studied at La Trobe University without taking a degree. Nowra worked at several jobs and lived an itinerant lifestyle until the mid-1970s when his plays began to attract attention. Nowra is best known for the many plays that he has written since that time, but he has also written film scripts (including adaptations of his own work), plays for radio and television, novels and autobiography. Nowra has held administrative positions in several theatre companies, directed a number of productions and translated several plays for the Australian stage. In collaboration with his first wife, Sarah de Jong, he has written the music for his plays and other productions. Nowra's work has won a number of awards and Nowra has been a writer-in-residence and lecturer at the University of Queensland.

Nowra's plays exhibit his interest in black comedy and gothic themes that explore fundamental issues in human individuality. Several of his plays can be seen as explorations of the mind and its relationship with language, but Nowra has also extended that to explore the effects of imperialism and oppression. In the early 1990s several of his plays employed autobiographical elements that have been further explored in his autobiography, The Twelfth of Never (2000). While many of his plays are set outside Australia, the themes he explores can be easily applied to the Australian condition. This is demonstrated in his widely admired treatment of Aboriginal issues in plays like Radiance and Crow which extend many of the themes of his earlier plays.

Nowra also wrote the non-fiction work The Cheated (1979), consisting of a series of news items about bizarre incidents, and contributed to Edge of the Earth : Stories and Images from the Antipodes (1990) which traces the development of New Zealand film-maker Vincent Ward. In 2007 Pluto Press published his Bad Dreaming: Aboriginal Men's Violence Against Women and Children as part of the Australia NOW series.

Louis Nowra was awarded an honorary doctorate by Griffith University on 26 March 1996.


  • Veronica Kelly's work The Theatre of Louis Nowra examines, in part (especially pp. 101-109, 120-122, 136-138 and 139-140), Nowra's characteristic survivor 'Creatures' and discusses Nowra's use of the Frankenstein myth in these historically deformed and reformed characters.
  • A radio play attributed to Nowra, 'Moon of the Exploding Trees' is mentioned in the author's biography in The Language of the Gods (piii of program inserted in centre of book), and on the web site of Radio National's 'Airplay', which states that it was performed on CBC Radio, Canada in 1995. John Hillel, in 'The Radio Drama of Louis Nowra' (in Australasian Drama Studies, Number 30, April 1997), states that the work was never broadcast because of concerns about its content. The script for this work, however, has not been traced beyond these references.

Awards for Works

Prince of Afghanistan 2015 single work novel young adult

'Black parachutes fall from the sky: young soldiers - and a dog - on a rescue mission in a remote part of Afghanistan...But the mission ends in chaos, and Mark and Prince embark on a perilous journey through enemy territory. They depend on each other to survive...A dramatic and powerful story of war and the bond between a young soldier and a dog, from the acclaimed author of Into That Forest...' (Publication summary)

2016 shortlisted Indie Awards Young Adult
Kings Cross : A Biography 2013 single work biography

'Louis Nowra burrows beneath the sensationalist Underbelly ‘sex and sin’ narrative, revealing stories and a cast of characters – some household names others little-known - that not even a writer could conjure up.

'Kings Cross is a no-holds barred place, where backpackers, prostitutes, strippers, chefs, mad men, poets, beggars, booksellers, doctors, gangsters, sailors, musicians, drug traffickers, eccentrics, judges and artists live side by side. Part flaneur, part historian and part eyewitness, Louis Nowra is the best possible guide to a place both real, and a state of mind.'

Source: Publisher's blurb.

2014 shortlisted 'The Nib': CAL Waverley Library Award for Literature
2014 winner 'The Nib': CAL Waverley Library Award for Literature The Alex Buzo Shortlist Prize
The Straits 2012 series - publisher film/TV crime

'Set among the turquoise waters and lethal wildlife of Australia's Far North Queensland and the Torres Strait, The Straits is an exotic, darkly humorous crime drama.

'The Montebellos are not your average Australian family. Modern day smugglers, their family business is transporting drugs into Australia and guns and exotic wildlife out, making use of ties of blood and loyalty in the Torres Strait Islands.

'When Harry, the head of the family, starts to plan his succession, a power struggle is sparked between brother and brother, wife and daughter. Under attack from ambitious bikies and mercurial PNG Raskols, the family must hold together through torture, assassination and imprisonment.'

Source: ABC1 website, http://www.abc.net.au/tv/thestraits/
Sighted: 30/01/2012

2012 winner AWGIE Awards Television Mini-Series - Original
2012 winner Deadly Sounds Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Music, Sport, Entertainment and Community Awards Television Show of the Year
Last amended 29 Oct 2015 10:54:10
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