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Gerald Murnane Gerald Murnane i(A573 works by)
Born: Established: 1939 Coburg, Brunswick - Coburg area, Melbourne - North, Melbourne, Victoria, ;
Gender: Male
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BiographyHistory

Gerald Murnane matriculated from De La Salle College, Malvern in 1956. After studying briefly for the priesthood in 1957, he began training as a primary teacher in 1958, subsequently teaching in eight Melbourne schools between 1960 and 1968. In 1965 Murnane began a part-time BA, graduating from the University of Melbourne four years later. Between 1969 and 1973 he worked as a publications officer and assistant editor in the publications branch of the Victorian Education Department. Resigning in 1973, Murnane began work on his first novels, supported by the Australia Council and occasional freelance editing. In 1980 Murnane began his career as a lecturer at Prahran College of Advanced Education. He has since worked at several universities as a lecturer and writer-in-residence.

Murnane's fiction has often been classed postmodern for its intricate examination of meaning in the contemporary world where the disjunction between language and reality has been widely accepted. Many of Murnane's stories and novels examine the ideas of creativity and authorship, and the role of the reader in constructing meaning. While southwestern Victoria predominates in the settings of Murnane's fiction, he has employed other places, such as Hungary and Yorkshire. Many of Murnane's novels were out of print in the 1990s. Nevertheless, he received the Patrick White Award in 1999.

Most Referenced Works

Awards for Works

Border Districts 2017 single work novel

'Conceived as Gerald Murnane’s last work of fiction, Border Districts was written after the author moved from Melbourne to a small town on the western edge of the Wimmera plains, near the border with South Australia. The narrator of this fiction has made a similar move, from a capital city to a remote town in the border country, where he intends to spend the last years of his life. It is a time for exploring the enduring elements of his experience, as these exist in his mind, images whose persistence is assured, but whose significance needs to be rediscovered. Readers of Murnane’s earlier work will recognise some of these images: the dark-haired young woman at a window; the ancestral house set in grasslands; coloured glass, marbles, goldfish, the outfits of jockeys. Murnane’s images often draw their power from the light that falls upon them from a distant or mysterious source. But he also considers the possibility that the mind casts its own light, imbuing the images in the observer’s mind with the colours of his soul.

'As Murnane’s narrator declares, ‘the mind is a place best viewed from borderlands’. In this work, Border Districts also refers to the border country between life and death; and there is another meaning, in the narrator’s discovery of others who might share his world, even though they enter it from a different direction, across the border districts which separate, or unite, two human beings.' (Publication summary)

2018 shortlisted ASAL Awards ALS Gold Medal
Something for the Pain : A Memoir of the Turf 2015 single work autobiography

'I never met anyone whose interest in racing matched my own. Both on and off the course, so to speak, I've enjoyed the company of many a racing acquaintance...I've read books, or parts of books, by persons who might have come close to being true racing friends of mine if ever we had met. For most of my long life, however, my enjoyment of racing has been a solitary thing: something I could never wholly explain to anyone else.

'As a boy, Gerald Murnane became obsessed with horse racing. He had never ridden a horse, nor seen a race. Yet he was fascinated by photos of horse races in the Sporting Globe, and by the incantation of horses' names in radio broadcasts of races. Murnane discovered in these races more than he could find in religion or philosophy: they were the gateway to a world of imagination.

'Gerald Murnane is like no other writer, and Something for the Pain is like no other Murnane book. In this unique and spellbinding memoir, he tells the story of his life through the lens of horse racing. It is candid, droll and moving—a treat for lovers of literature and of the turf. ' (Publication summary)

2016 winner Victorian Premier's Literary Awards The Nettie Palmer Prize for Non-Fiction
A Million Windows 2014 single work novel

'This new work of fiction by one of Australia’s most highly regarded authors focuses on the importance of trust, and the possibility of betrayal, in storytelling as in life. It tests the relationship established between author and reader, and on occasions of intimacy, between child and parent, boyfriend and girlfriend, husband and wife. Murnane’s fiction is woven from images, and the feelings associated with them, and the images that flit through A Million Windows like butterflies – the reflections of the setting sun like spots of golden oil, the houses of two or perhaps three storeys, the procession of dark-haired females, the clearing in the forest, the colours indigo and silver-grey, the death of a young woman who had leaped into a well – build to an emotional crescendo that is all the more powerful for the intricacy of their patterning.' (Publication summary)

2016 shortlisted Adelaide Festival Awards for Literature Award for Fiction
2015 shortlisted Voss Literary Prize
2015 shortlisted New South Wales Premier's Literary Awards Christina Stead Prize for Fiction
Last amended 29 Oct 2015 10:55:48
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