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Aust. Women's Weekly, 26 August 1970, p.13
Jon Cleary Jon Cleary i(A27610 works by) (a.k.a. Stephen Cleary; Jon Stephen Cleary; John Cleary)
Born: Established: 22 Nov 1917 Sydney, New South Wales, ; Died: Ceased: 20 Jul 2010 Sydney, New South Wales,
Gender: Male
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Jon Cleary grew up as part of a large and impoverished working-class Catholic family in the inner Sydney suburb of Erskineville. Educated by the Marist brothers in Randwick, Cleary was forced by poverty to leave school before he turned fifteen. He worked in a wide variety of jobs, including as a film cartoonist, salesman, laundryman and commercial artist, and was often out of work, before joining the Australian Imperial Force in 1940 and serving in the Middle East and Papua New Guinea.

In 1941, the Daily Mail (Sydney) awarded Cleary fifty pounds for a short story and asked him to contribute to the paper; Cleary wrote 1,000 words per week for the next two years. In 1946, Cleary's You Can't See Round Corners won second prize in the Sydney Morning Herald's novel writing competition, coming second to Ruth Park's The Harp in the South. Cleary used the prize money to pay for a passage to England. He spent the following decades living in Europe and the United States and worked as a journalist for the Australian News and Information Bureau in London and New York from 1948 to 1951. Cleary's novels from this period were mostly international thrillers or adventure stories, dealing with issues such as Nazism and Third World oppression, but many featured Australian characters.

After returning to Australia, Cleary settled in Kirribilli and concentrated on a series of detective novels set in Sydney. The central character was police officer Scobie Malone. Cleary drew upon many aspects of his own background for the character of Malone, and his extensive knowledge of Sydney provided a realistic and detailed backdrop for the novels.

Over the course of his life, Jon Cleary became one of Australia's most prolific and commercially successful authors, selling more than eight million copies of his novels internationally. The Sundowners (1951) alone has sold more than three million copies. Cleary enjoyed the rare distinction that all of his novels were first published in hardback and many of his novels have been made into films. He also written many scripts for radio and television.

Cleary was married to author Joy Cleary (q.v.) from 1946 until Joy's death in 2003.

Most Referenced Works

Awards for Works

y separately published work icon Degrees of Connection Pymble : HarperCollins Australia , 2003 Z1073877 2003 single work novel crime detective
2004 winner Ned Kelly Awards for Crime Writing Best Novel
y separately published work icon Peter's Pence : A Novel London : Collins , 1974 Z276436 1974 single work novel crime
1974 winner Mystery Writers of America Edgar Allan Poe Award
y separately published work icon You Can't See Round Corners New York (City) : Charles Scribner's Sons , 1947 Z128629 1947 single work novel crime

'Frankie McCoy, a bookie from Paddington, Sydney, is drafted into the Australian Army during World War II. He ends up deserting and going on the run. His girlfriend Margie breaks up with him so he seeks solace in the arms of a more sexually experienced woman, Myra. He incurs gambling debts and robs a store, accidentally killing Myra. As the military police close in he is killed by a car.' (Publication summary)

1946 second The Sydney Morning Herald Literary Competition
Last amended 31 Aug 2020 08:29:17
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