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Vance Palmer Vance Palmer i(A18246 works by) (a.k.a. Edward Vivian Palmer; E. Vance Palmer; Edward Palmer; V. Palmer; Vance P.; Edward Vance Palmer; Palmer; E. Palmer; V. P.; Edward V. Palmer)
Also writes as: Rann Daly
Born: Established: 28 Aug 1885 Bundaberg, Bundaberg area, Maryborough - Rockhampton area, Queensland, ; Died: Ceased: 15 Jul 1959 Kew, Camberwell - Kew area, Melbourne - Inner South, Melbourne, Victoria,
Gender: Male
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BiographyHistory

Vance Palmer was born in Bundaberg, Queensland. He was educated at several schools at which his father was schoolmaster and at Ipswich Grammar School. An interest in literature, instilled by his father, was temporarily replaced by a passion for sport at Ipswich. But a recurring desire to become a writer saw him leave for England in 1905. After little literary success, Palmer returned to Australia in 1907 via Finland, Russia, Siberia and Japan and worked for a time as tutor on a remote Queensland property. Palmer returned to England in 1910 and travelled through North America, Mexico and the Pacific. Palmer was now a well-known member of literary circles, and with the encouragement of A. R. Orage, editor of the New Age, he developed his writing and his social philosophy with many articles for various periodicals. This experience consolidated Palmer's view that Australia's national consciousness originated in the bush, an idea which he would further develop in his criticism and creative writing. In 1914 he married Janet (Nettie) HigginsYi) with whom he forged one of the most productive partnerships in Australian literary history.

After serving in World War I, Palmer returned to Australia and wrote a combination of popular and serious literature during the 1920s. In the late 1920s Nettie Palmer's growing income from journalism enabled Vance to concentrate on his serious writing and he twice won the Bulletin Novel Competition. In the following decades he continued to write and became a widely-known literary critic through his regular talks and reviews for the ABC. With this profile Palmer promoted the works of Australian writers such as Henry Lawson and Joseph Furphy and encouraged many young writers. His ideas about the formation of a national literature found their most influential form in The Legend of the Nineties (1955). His novels include The Passage (1930), Daybreak (1932), The Swayne Family (1934) and Legend for Sanderson (1937). His short stories first appeared in The World of Men (1915) and later Separate Lives (1931) and Sea and Spinifex (1934).

When Palmer died in 1959, a special edition of Meanjin was being prepared to honour his and Nettie's contribution to Australian literature, the conferral of an honorary doctorate at the University of Melbourne was being planned and his novel The Big Fellow was in the press. That novel would later win the Miles Franklin Award.

According to Palmer's entry (in his own hand) in A. G. Stephens's 'Australian Autobiographies' vol.2, he published two works in the UK in 1913. These were National Proverbs: China and National Proverbs: Japan in the series published by Frank Palmer in 1913.

Exhibitions

8603158

Most Referenced Works

Awards for Works

The Big Fellow 1959 single work novel

"The Big Fellow, Macy Donovan, who in Seedtime, the second novel of Vance Palmer's Golconda trilogy, was still in the early stages of his political career, is at the opening of this third novel of the trilogy at the peak of his powers and achievement. 

'The novel takes up his story after a gap of twenty years. Now fifty, a shrewd and experienced politician, Macy is about to step into the shoes of Wardle, the Premier, who has departed to a cosy niche in the agent-generalship in London. Apparently Macy's ambitions have been achieved and his desires fulfilled - the premiership, a comfortable marriage, two children - yet there are inner stirrings of discontent and vague wishes for a fulfilment he has never found, and in the background rumblings of a political storm over an old mining venture. 

'Macy's sense of frustration is soon awakened fully by the return into his life of Neda, the sculptress, who first touched his emotions in his early days on the Golconda mining field. He feels that with her he can find a fulness of life that he has never known with his wife, Kitty. 

'Meanwhile the raking over the ashes of his involvement in the Mount Clutha mine through his connecton by marriage with Vern and Brian Hegarty, two shysters who have hitherto managed to stay within the law by a narrow margin, threatens his political career. Macy calls a Royal Commission. 

'A dramatic climax is reached, and the final scene is played out in the Golconda to which Macy's thoughts have often turned as a symbol of his youth. 

'This last novel of the Golconda trilogy represents, says John Barnes, 'a final, deeply considered statement of a man who saw life steadily and saw it whole.'" (Publication summary)
 

1959 winner Miles Franklin Literary Award
The Swayne Family 1934 single work novel
1934 joint winner Melbourne Centenary Competition The prize was shared with Frederick Hibble's novel, Karangi.
Last amended 28 Nov 2016 16:51:51
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