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David Martin David Martin i(A28275 works by) (birth name: Ludwig Detsinyi) (a.k.a. Lajos Detsinyi; Louis Adam; Louis Destiny)
Also writes as: Spinifex
Born: Established: 22 Dec 1915 Budapest,
Eastern Europe, Europe,
; Died: Ceased: 1 Jul 1997 Beechworth, Beechworth - Yackandandah area, North East Victoria, Victoria,
Gender: Male
Arrived in Australia: 1949
Heritage: Jewish
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David Martin was arguably one of the most versatile and best known among the so-called Australian migrant writers in the second half of the 20th century. His works cover a wide range of genres. He also wrote political non-fiction (above all his Armed Neutrality for Australia, 1984), lectured at the Victorian Centre for Adult Education, was a sought-after speaker at many literary events, and became well known as a literary critic and reviewer. He wrote for Meanjin, Overland (of which he was one of the founding members), and numerous other periodicals. A number of his works have been turned into TV and radio scripts. Many have been published overseas and translated into other languages.

Born as Ludwig (Lajos) Detsinyi in Budapest into a multicultural Jewish family, Martin grew up and was educated in Germany. His first poetic pieces were written in German and published under the names of Ludwig Detsinyi, Ludwig Dets, Louis Destiny, or Louis Adams. He left Germany in 1934 and for many years lived the life of a wanderer. He worked in Werkdorp, a training camp for young Jews on the Zuider Zee reclamation zone in Holland, where he was trained in horticulture for a life in a kibbutz. He moved back to Hungary to get further experience in horticulture and then spent some time in a kibbutz in Palestine. In 1937 he left Palestine for Spain where he joined the International Brigades in the Spanish Civil War as a volunteer in the medical service of the Spanish Republican Army, his poor eyesight preventing him from more hard-line service. Around this time Martin's political poetry in German began to be published in leftist journals.

He fled from Spain in 1938 and joined his family in London. After a short stint in his father's clothing trade, Ludwig Detsinyi set off to become a writer. Having to shake off the label of an 'enemy alien' and to write in a second language, he slowly worked his way up from radio monitor and correspondent to sub-editor for the Daily Express in Glasgow, and then eventually got permission to work as a feature writer in English for the European Service of the BBC in London at the height of the Second World War. In England he changed his name from Ludwig Detsinyi to David Martin and began to write and publish in English.

As a correspondent of the Daily Express (and eventually also of the Indian paper Hindu) Martin, his wife Richenda and their son Jan (qq.v.) spent a year in India. On the planned return trip to England the production of Martin's play The Shepherd and the Hunter in Sydney brought the Martins to Australia in 1949. What had initially been a visit became migration, and apart from overseas travels the Martins remained in Australia for the rest of their lives, finally settling in Beechworth, Victoria. Martin joined the Communist Party in 1951, remained active until after the Hungarian revolt of 1956, but resigned in 1959 following a controversy about his interview with Ho Chi-minh (published in Hindu) which the party deemed damaging for the cause.

Martin was a member of the Realist Writers Group together with Judah Waten, Frank Hardy and Eric Lambert (qq.v.), and he continued to speak up on societal and political matters until his death in 1997. Martin's autobiography My Strange Friend (1990) provides interesting insights into the life and times of the writer and the history of the 20th century.

Most Referenced Works


  • Author writes in these languages: ENGLISH

Awards for Works

y separately published work icon Mister P. and His Remarkable Flight Sydney : Hodder and Stoughton , 1975 Z816399 1975 single work children's fiction children's adventure
second place
1976 worthy of mention CBCA Book of the Year Awards Book of the Year Award
y separately published work icon Hughie Melbourne : Nelson , 1971 Z528767 1971 single work novel young adult
1972 commended CBCA Book of the Year Awards Book of the Year Award
Fidel i "And sometimes all our arguments are cleft:", 1961 single work poetry
— Appears in: Meanjin Quarterly , April vol. 20 no. 1 1961; (p. 32) The Gift : Poems 1959-1965 1966; (p. 36-37)
1961 winner Meanjin Quarterly Poetry Competition

Known archival holdings

Albinski 151
National Library of Australia (ACT)
Last amended 29 Oct 2015 10:57:12
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