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Novelist, journalist, screenwriter and documentary film maker, Atkinson worked in England, Germany, India, and Australia, including a stint as an advertising copywriter with the London-based Lintas Group (now Lowe and Partners Worldwide) in the 1950s, five years as a technical officer for the Indian government, and two years as a script writer for the United Nations.
He became a full-time novelist in the late 1960s, though his first novel (The Pink and the Brown) was published to critical acclaim in 1957. He also served as an Emeritus Fellow of the Literature Board of the Australia Council prior to his death in 1994.
In addition to the works listed on AustLit, Hugh Atkinson also wrote a history of the Anthony Squires Label (1958?) and the script of Frontiers Downunder (Film Australia, 1977).