John Collee John Collee i(A134311 works by)
Born: Established: 1955 ;
Gender: Male
AustLit is a subscription service. The content and services available here are limited because you have not been recognised as a subscriber. Find out how to gain full access to AustLit


John Collee studied Medicine in Edinburgh, Scotland, and subsequently worked as a doctor in the United Kingdom, Sri Lanka, Madagascar, the Solomon Islands and the former Soviet Union. From 1991 to 1996 he wrote a weekly column for The Observer (United Kingdom). While practising medicine, he wrote the medical thriller Kingsley's Touch (1984). His second novel, A Paper Mask (1987) was later adapted, by Collee, for the 1990 film of the same name. His third film, The Rig appeared in 1991.

After marrying an Australian and becoming a full time Australian resident, he has collaborated as a screen writer with Australian directors Scott Hicks, Phil Noyce, George Miller, and Peter Weir. His scripts include Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World (2003), Happy Feet (2006), Creation (2009), Tanna (215), The Patriarch (2016), and Hotel Mumbai (2017).

Most Referenced Works


  • I made the switch from novel writing to film writing partly because films are structurally simpler, and I like simplicity, partly because film writing suited my lifestyle and my character. The degree of immersion that you require to write a novel is, as any novelist will tell you - borderline pathological.
    Source: John Collee The 2011 FOXTEL Address 'The Dream Machine'. You can read a transcript of his speech here.

Awards for Works

The Patriarch 2016 single work film/TV
2016 shortlisted AWGIE Awards Film Award Adaptation
Tanna 2015 single work film/TV

'In one of the last traditional tribes in the South Pacific, a young girl, Wawa, falls in love with her chief’s grandson, Dain. When an inter-tribal war escalates, Wawa is unknowingly betrothed as part of a peace deal. The young lovers run away, but are pursued by enemy warriors intent on killing them. They must choose between their hearts and the future of the tribe, while the villagers must wrestle with preserving their traditional culture and adapting it to the increasing outside demands for individual freedom. Based on a true story and performed by the people of Yakel.'

Source: Publisher's blurb.

2017 shortlisted International Awards Academy Awards Best Foreign Language Film
2016 nominated Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts Awards Best Film
2016 shortlisted AWGIE Awards Feature Film - Original
2015 winner International Awards Venice Film Festival International Critics' Week Award
Creation 2010 single work film/TV

Based on the book Annie's Box, penned by Charles Darwin's great-great-grandson Randal Keynes, which is itself based on personal letters and diaries from his family, Creation is essentially a love story that offers a unique perspective into the life of Darwin and his family, and, in particular, the love he had for his wife. Deeply religious, she is torn between her faith and the scientific beliefs upheld by her husband. The narrative takes place as Darwin struggles to finish his seminal publication, On the Origin of Species, which goes on to become the foundation for evolutionary biology.

2010 nominated AWGIE Awards Film Award Screenplay Adaptation
Last amended 27 Apr 2017 14:10:07
Other mentions of "" in AustLit: