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image of person or book cover 5121582774966863758.jpg
Cover image courtesy of publisher.
y separately published work icon Wake in Fright single work   novel  
Issue Details: First known date: 1961... 1961 Wake in Fright
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AbstractHistoryArchive Description

Wake in Fright is the harrowing story of a young schoolteacher, John Grant, who leaves his isolated outback school to go on holidays to Sydney (and civilization). Things start to go horribly wrong, however, when stays overnight in a rough outback mining town called Bundanyabba. After a drink fuelled night, in which he loses all his momey, Grant finds himself both broke and stuck in the town with means of escape. He subsequently descends into a cycle of hangovers, fumbling sexual encounters, and increasing self-loathing as he becomes more and more immersed in the grotesque and surreal nightmare that is 'the Yabba.'

Adaptations

form y separately published work icon Wake in Fright Outback Evan Jones , ( dir. Ted Kotcheff ) 1971 Australia United States of America (USA) : Group W Films NLT Productions , 1971 Z912048 1971 single work film/TV horror (taught in 7 units)

John Grant, a young Englishman, teaches in Tiboonda, a tiny railway junction on the far western plains of New South Wales. He sets off to spend his summer vacation in Sydney but doesn't make it beyond Bundanyabba, a nearby mining town known as 'the Yabba'. Stranded in town after losing all his money in a two-up game, he finds himself engulfed by the Yabba's claustrophobic, nightmarish, beer-fuelled stupor, an atmosphere compounded of repressed sexuality, squalid violence, and the sinister mateship of the locals. After being sexually assaulted by the town's alcoholic doctor, he attempts to hitchhike out of the town but is brought back by a truckie. In anger, he tries to shoot the doctor but ends up only shooting himself. After discharging himself from the hospital, Grant takes the train back to Tiboonda, resigned to another year of teaching.

form y separately published work icon Wake In Fright Stephen M. Irwin , ( dir. Kriv Stenders ) Australia : Lingo Pictures Endemol Australia Network Ten , 2017 10031059 2017 series - publisher film/TV
Wake in Fright Declan Greene , 2019 single work drama

'G’day. Welcome to the Yabba. Just passing through?

'It’s the best little town in the world. Things a bit grim? Chin up.

'John Grant is well-read, but an outback misadventure strands him—cashless and jobless—in a harsh and remote Aussie outpost, Bundanyabba.

'So, he makes new ‘mates’: they’re quick with a drink, but with every scull a dark violence lurches forward. Are these blokes fair dinkum, or is there something more sinister at the heart of this little Aussie town?

'On our Beckett Theatre stage, the entire world of Wake in Fright is conjured by the always-evocative Zahra Newman (The Book of Mormon) accompanied by a sonic assault from art-electronica band, friendships. Under the direction of Declan Greene, Kenneth Cook’s iconic work of Australian Gothic horror is felt in the flesh. Bring sunscreen, buy a beer and wear your ear plugs.

'Once we pierce the Yabba’s ocker veneer, you better be ready for the explosive brutality pent up inside.'

Source: Malthouse Theatre.

Notes

  • Drawing on his earlier career as a journalist in the north-west New South Wales town of Broken Hill, Kenneth Cook's Wake in Fright was his second novel, the first having been withdrawn because of a threat of legal action. The novel was first published in 1961 when Kenneth Cook was thirty-two. In his introduction to the the 2001 Text Publishing edition, Peter Temple writes: 'It was a publishing success, appearing in England and America, translated into several languages, and a prescribed text in schools. It might be forty years since the novel appeared yet it retains its freshness, its narrative still compels, and its bleak vision still disquiets.'

  • May you dream of the Devil and wake in fright. An old curse.

  • Other formats: Also braille, sound recording and large print.

Contents

* Contents derived from the Melbourne, Victoria,:Text Publishing , 2001 version. Please note that other versions/publications may contain different contents. See the Publication Details.
A Novel of Menace, Peter Temple , 2001 single work criticism
This work appears as an introduction to various editions of Kenneth Cook's Wake in Fright.
(p. ix-xviii)
* Contents derived from the Melbourne, Victoria,:Text Publishing , 2003 version. Please note that other versions/publications may contain different contents. See the Publication Details.
A Novel of Menace, Peter Temple , 2001 single work criticism
This work appears as an introduction to various editions of Kenneth Cook's Wake in Fright.
* Contents derived from the Melbourne, Victoria,:Text Publishing , 2009 version. Please note that other versions/publications may contain different contents. See the Publication Details.
A Novel of Menace, Peter Temple , 2001 single work criticism
This work appears as an introduction to various editions of Kenneth Cook's Wake in Fright.
(p. ix-xviii)

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

    • London,
      c
      England,
      c
      c
      United Kingdom (UK),
      c
      Western Europe, Europe,
      :
      Michael Joseph ,
      1961 .
      Extent: 191p.
      ISBN: 0207140138
    • Harmondsworth, Middlesex,
      c
      England,
      c
      c
      United Kingdom (UK),
      c
      Western Europe, Europe,
      :
      Ringwood, Ringwood - Croydon - Kilsyth area, Melbourne - East, Melbourne, Victoria,: Penguin Books ,
      1967 .
      Extent: 142p.
      Reprinted: 1971 , 1973 , 1974
      ISBN: 0140024050
  • Appears in:
    y separately published work icon Great Australian Writers [Vol. 1] London : Octopus Publishing Group , 1987 Z1291016 1987 anthology novel autobiography London : Octopus Publishing Group , 1987
    • London,
      c
      England,
      c
      c
      United Kingdom (UK),
      c
      Western Europe, Europe,
      :
      Prion ,
      2002 .
      Extent: xiv, 174p.p.
      Note/s:
      • Wth an introduction by Peter Temple.
      ISBN: 185375482X(pbk.)
      Series: Film Ink Series Prion (publisher), series - publisher novel Many of the world's great films share an essential ingredient: a great book as their source. The Film Ink series presents the novels that inspired the work of some of the most celebrated directors of our time. And while each novel is first and foremost a classic in its own right, these books offer the dedicated cinephile a richer understanding of some of the most illustrious films of Hollywood and European cinema. (Publisher information)
    • Melbourne, Victoria,: Text Publishing , 2012 .
      image of person or book cover 5121582774966863758.jpg
      Cover image courtesy of publisher.
      Extent: 212p.
      Note/s:
      ISBN: 9781921922169 (pbk.)
      Series: y separately published work icon Text Classics Text Publishing (publisher), Melbourne : Text Publishing , 2012- Z1851461 2012 series - publisher novel 'Great books by great Australian storytellers.' (Text website.)
Alternative title: Aangeschoten
Language: Dutch
    • Amsterdam,
      c
      Netherlands,
      c
      Western Europe, Europe,
      :
      Podium ,
      2002 .
      Extent: 182p.
      ISBN: 057593645

Works about this Work

Postcolonial Gothic : Australia, CAnada, New Zealand, South Pacific Gerry Turcotte , 2017 single work criticism
— Appears in: The Oxford History of the Novel in English : The Novel in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the South Pacific Since 1950 2017; (p. 205-220)

'Postcolonial Gothic, like revisionist historical fiction, might be seen as another symptom of the reassessment of discourses of colonial history since the 1960s, though Gothic interrogations of national cultural myths have a darker more anxious quality, tending to focus on 'ghost stories' that haunt narratives of origin...' (Introduction)

There Was Nothing, There Was Nowhere to Go : Writing Australian Rural Noir Leigh Redhead , 2016 single work criticism
— Appears in: TEXT Special Issue Website Series , October no. 37 2016;
'When I embarked on my doctorate in creative writing, I wanted to write about the decline of an alternative community in the 1980s, similar to the one in which I had grown up. A noir novel seemed the perfect vehicle for the dark themes I planned to explore, and promised to be very different from the private eye series I usually wrote. Typically, noir is located in urban environments and many studies of noir fiction and film maintain that an urban setting is integral to the genre, speaking as it does to the anxiety and alienation of modern life, feelings of anonymity and of being the outsider, and the corruption and criminality of the city. Much contemporary noir fiction still takes place in metropolitan areas; however, there is, increasingly, a sub-genre situated in rural locations, as illustrated by the rise of ‘Country’ or ‘Hillbilly Noir’ in the USA. Australian crime fiction has long made use of the bush and outback as a location – usually as a site of conquest where the hero ultimately triumphs over the antagonist; however, noir narratives are different, invariably ending in destruction and defeat. This article will investigate Australian Rural Noir through a comparative textual analysis of Kenneth Cooke’s Wake in Fright, Chris Womersley’s The Low Road and Hannah Kent’s Burial Rites. It will consider the ways in which Australian rural noir uses landscape to subvert the pastoral paradigm and will examine the tensions between the exterior landscape and the interior life of the protagonists, reflecting on the particularly Australian cultural anxieties implicit in these texts. I also discuss my own research-led practice, the challenges involved in being an insider researcher and, finally, consider whether this nexus between the critical and creative helps or hinders the creative writing process.' (Publication abstract)
Outback Nightmare Returns to the Screen Matt Gilbertson , Antimo Iannella , Anna Vlach , 2016 single work column
— Appears in: The Advertiser , 8 September 2016; (p. 27)
Kenneth Cook and PJ Harvey : Parched Rural Menace Nikki Lusk , 2014 single work column
— Appears in: The Guardian Australia , 2 May 2014;
Untitled Justin Heazlewood , 2012 single work review
— Appears in: The Lifted Brow , no. 14 2012; (p. 25)

— Review of Wake in Fright Kenneth Cook , 1961 single work novel
Untitled Justin Heazlewood , 2012 single work review
— Appears in: The Lifted Brow , no. 14 2012; (p. 25)

— Review of Wake in Fright Kenneth Cook , 1961 single work novel
Our Grim Outback Don Edwards , 1961 single work review
— Appears in: The Sydney Morning Herald , 27 May 1961; (p. 16)

— Review of Wake in Fright Kenneth Cook , 1961 single work novel
Outback of the Mind Matthew Spencer , 2001 single work review
— Appears in: The Weekend Australian , 29-30 September 2001; (p. 10)

— Review of Wake in Fright Kenneth Cook , 1961 single work novel
A Welcome Quartet Delys Bird , 2001 single work review
— Appears in: Australian Book Review , November no. 236 2001; (p. 35-36)

— Review of Wake in Fright Kenneth Cook , 1961 single work novel ; The Baby-Farmer Margaret Scott , 1990 single work novel ; All That False Instruction : A Novel of Lesbian Love Elizabeth Riley , 1975 single work novel ; Collected Stories 1970-1995 Janette Turner Hospital , 1995 selected work short story
y separately published work icon Jing xing / Yi lin bian ji bu Nanjing : Jiangsu ren min chu ban she , 1986 Z1250644 1986 anthology novel short story essay
Literature in the Arid Zone Tom Lynch , 2007 single work criticism
— Appears in: The Littoral Zone : Australian Contexts and Their Writers 2007; (p. 70-92)
This chapter surveys and assesses from an ecocentric perspective some representative literary portrayals of the Australian deserts. Generally, it contrasts works that portray the desert as an alien, hostile, and undifferentiated void with works that recognise and value the biological particularities of specific desert places. It explores the literature of three dominant cultural orientations to the deserts: pastoralism, mining, and traversal. It concludes with a consideration of several multi-voiced and/or multi-genred bioregionally informed works that suggests fruitful directions for more ecocentric literary approaches. (abstract taken from The Littoral Zone)
Rednecks, 'Roos and Racism : Kangaroo Shooting and the Australian Way John Morton , 1990 single work criticism
— Appears in: Social Analysis , April no. 27 1990; (p. 30-49)
y separately published work icon Helen McAlley's Commentary on Wake in Fright by Kenneth Cook Helen McAlley , Greensborough : Helen McAlley , 1990-1999 Z1582765 1990-1999 single work criticism
Home Truths Kate Jennings , 2009 single work criticism
— Appears in: The Monthly , July no. 47 2009; (p. 36-49) The Best Australian Essays 2009 2009; (p. 51-71)

Watching the film Wake in Fright nearly 40 years after its release - 1971 - brought back one good memory for me of life in the bush. Canvas water bags. Nothing like the taste of water from those bags: sweet and earthy. One hangs on the back of a door in the shambles of a mining shack occupied by Doc Tydon, the movie's supposed villain. Not that anyone in the movie drinks water. Heaven forbid. Instead they neck beer and, in the case of Doc Tydon, glug down whiskey in the legendary quantities typical of men on a weekend bender in the Outback. Typical, I should also emphasise, of men the world over who work in isolated areas under punishing conditions, although the pursuit of the Holy Grail of alcoholic oblivion in the Outback is undertaken with an inexorable determination, not so much blunting pain as getting their due. Cracking a few cold ones with your mates - legacy, birthright, entitlement.

Last amended 25 Sep 2015 13:29:42
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