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Alex Miller Alex Miller i(A12971 works by) (a.k.a. Alexander McPhee Miller)
Born: Established: 1936 London,
United Kingdom (UK),
Western Europe, Europe,
Gender: Male
Arrived in Australia: 1952
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As a child Alexander McPhee Miller lived in south London, the son of an Irish mother and a Scottish father, whose background he has described as 'culturally rich'. Before migrating alone to Australia when he was seventeen years old he worked on a farm in the west of England. Then, after working as itinerant stockman on cattle stations in Central Queensland and the Gulf Country and travelling around Australia, he studied History and English at the University of Melbourne, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in 1965. Miller completed a Diploma of Education at the Melbourne State College in 1975, and he began teaching a writing course at Brunswick Technical School the following year. He had started writing poetry when he was twenty-two. He has also worked as an art dealer, farmer and public servant.

Miller was the inaugural writer-in-residence at the Australian Nouveau Theatre, 1981, co-founder of the Anthill Theatre and a founding member of the Melbourne Writers' Theatre, 1982. He has taught the prose writing course at Holmesglen College of TAFE, Victoria, since 1986, and was Visiting Fellow at La Trobe University 1994 -1995. Miller writes full-time and lives in the Victorian country town of Castlemaine.

When asked to name influential writers on his own work, Miller replied: 'Wilde, Tournier, White. George Eliot and Proust. These are all on my shelves, along with Duras and Beckett and Artaud and Celine and so on and on. And that astonishing biography, A Life, by David Marr. All books that are better at second reading. And not all books are... But where's the influence?... I could say more confidently who hasn't influenced me than who has. Joyce and the great American writers of the twentieth century. But then I like the intimate, the lyrical, the detailed, the confiding moment; the hard-won simplicities of a modest prose, deceptive and clear and smooth, rather than the fireworks displays, the crackling blaze of glory where nothing is what it is but is forever akin to something else.'

Source of quotation:
Sighted: 06/02/2007


Most Referenced Works

Awards for Works

y separately published work icon Max Crows Nest : Allen and Unwin , 2020 19845096 2020 single work biography

'I began to see that whatever I might write about Max, discover about him, piece together with those old shards of memory, it would be his influence on the friendships of the living that would frame his story in the present.

'According to your 1939 Gestapo file, you adopted the cover names Landau and Maxim. The name your mother and father gave you was Moses. We knew you as Max. You had worked in secret. From an early age you concealed yourself - like the grey box beetle in the final country of your exile, maturing on its journey out of sight beneath the bark of the tree.

'You risked death every day. And when at last the struggle became hopeless, you escaped the hell and found a haven in China first, and then Australia, where you became one of those refugees who, in their final place of exile, chose not death but silence and obscurity.

'Alex Miller followed the faint trail of Max Blatt's early life for five years. Max's story unfolded, slowly at first, from the Melbourne Holocaust Centre's records then to Berlin's Federal Archives. From Berlin, Miller travelled to Max's old home town of Wroclaw in Poland. And finally in Israel with Max's niece, Liat Shoham, and her brother Yossi Blatt, at Liat's home in the moshav Shadmot Dvora in the Lower Galilee, the circle of friendship was closed and the mystery of Max's legendary silence was unmasked.

'Max is an astonishing and moving tribute to friendship, a meditation on memory itself, and a reminder to the reader that history belongs to humanity.' (Publication summary)

2021 shortlisted National Biography Award
y separately published work icon The Passage of Love Sydney : Allen and Unwin , 2017 11529104 2017 single work novel

'Sitting in a New York park, an old man holds a book and tries to accept that his contribution to the future is over. Instead, he remembers a youthful yearning for open horizons, for Australia, a yearning he now knows inspired his life as a writer. Instinctively he picks up his pen and starts at the beginning . . .

'At twenty-one years, Robert Croft leaves his broken dreams in Far North Queensland, finally stopping in Melbourne almost destitute. It's there he begins to understand how books and writing might be the saving of him. They will be how he leaves his mark on the world. He also begins to understand how many obstacles there will be to thwart his ambition. When Robert is introduced to Lena Soren, beautiful, rich and educated, his life takes a very different path. But in the intimacy of their connection lies an unknowability that both torments and tantalises as Robert and Lena long for something that neither can provide for the other. In a rich blend of thoughtful and beautifully observed writing, the lives of a husband and wife are laid bare in their passionate struggle to engage with their individual creativity.'

source: Publisher's blurb.

2018 longlisted ASAL Awards ALS Gold Medal
2018 longlisted Indie Awards Fiction
y separately published work icon Coal Creek Crows Nest : Allen and Unwin , 2013 6452235 2013 single work novel (taught in 1 units)

'"Me and Ben had been mates since we was boys and if it come to it I knew I would have to be on his side."

Bobby Blue is caught between loyalty to his only friend, Ben Tobin, and his boss, Daniel Collins, the new Constable at Mount Hay. 'Ben was not a big man but he was strong and quick as a snake. He had his own breed of pony that was just like him, stocky and reliable on their feet.' Bobby understands the people and the ways of Mount Hay; Collins studies the country as an archaeologist might, bringing his coastal values to the hinterland. Bobby says, 'I do not think Daniel would have understood Ben in a million years.' Increasingly bewildered and goaded to action by his wife, Constable Collins takes up his shotgun and his Webley pistol to deal with Ben. Bobby's love for Collins' wilful young daughter Irie is exposed, leading to tragic consequences for them all.

Miller's exquisite depictions of the country of the Queensland highlands form the background of this simply told but deeply significant novel of friendship, love, loyalty and the tragic consequences of misunderstanding and mistrust. Coal Creek is a wonderfully satisfying novel with a gratifying resolution. It carries all the wisdom and emotional depth we have come to expect from Miller's richly evocative novels.' (Publisher's blurb)

2015 shortlisted Melbourne Prize
2014 shortlisted Queensland Literary Awards Fiction Book Award
2014 shortlisted Prime Minister's Literary Awards Fiction
2014 shortlisted Western Australian Premier's Book Awards Fiction
2014 shortlisted ASAL Awards ALS Gold Medal
2014 shortlisted Indie Awards Fiction
2014 winner Victorian Premier's Literary Awards Prize for Fiction

Known archival holdings

University of New South Wales Australian Defence Force Academy Australian Defence Force Academy Library (ACT)
Last amended 30 Aug 2017 10:13:34
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