45 Years Since the Nobel Prize


December 10, 2018 is the 45-year anniversary of Patrick White being awarded the Nobel Prize for ‘an epic and psychological narrative art which has introduced a new continent into literature.’ Below you’ll find a selection of White’s own writings from the pages of Meanjin, and discussions of his work by others.



The Death of Palfreyman

By Patrick White

Volume 16 No 3 (1957)

So the party entered the approaches to hell, with no sound but that of horses passing through a desert, and saltbush grating in a wind …

Being Kind to Titina

By Patrick White

Volume 21 Issue 1 (1962)

First mother went away. Then it was our father, twitching from under our feet the rugs, which formed, he said, a valuable collection …

Fěte Galante

By Patrick White

Volume 36 No 1 (1977)

It was too early, the light still brazen, the glare strong enough to bleach the purple out of the sea. As they struggled up the road the dust shot in plumes from under their feet and settled where skin was bare and moist …

A Social Occasion

By Patrick White

Volume 24 No 1 (1965)

The third occasion on which he came in contact with the Feinsteins Waldo knew there was no escaping something that was being prepared. Mrs Feinstein’s formal note deliberately arranged it for the Saturday …



White’s Brown Woman

By Denise Varney

Summer 2015

I’m reading Patrick White’s play A Cheery Soul, first published in Four Plays by Patrick White in 1965 and first staged at the Union Theatre, University of Melbourne, in 1963. It is built around a misogynist construct, the difficult woman, here the aged Miss Docker, a woman who is difficult to like, difficult to be around and makes difficulties for others.

Patrick White: A Centenary Tribute

By Neil Armfield

Volume 71, Number 2 (2012)

When I started at Sydney University in 1973 I hadn’t heard of Patrick White. We read The Burnt Ones in English I, and as I sat high up in the gothic cubbyholes above the quadrangle in my weekly tutorial with Peter Shrubb—a sweet man and one of the last Leavisites hanging on to the Great Tradition—there didn’t seem to be a lot to say about P.W …

Peevish Paddy and Sir Neddy: Patrick White’s Nobel Prize for Literature

By Sue Rabbitt Roff

December 7, 2018

Forty five years ago as the King of Sweden was handing the Nobel Prize for Literature to Sidney Nolan in Stockholm in the early European afternoon of December 10, 1973, Patrick White was dining with Stephen Murray-Smith at the annual Overland dinner in Melbourne …

The Four Novels Of Patrick White

By Marjorie Barnard

Volume 36 No 1 (1977)

Of Patrick White, the man, I know little save by deduction. The Mitchell Library catalogue is biographically silent and Who’s Who in Australia has nothing to say. A few details of his life will be found in Morris Miller’s and F.T. Macartney’s new edition of Australian Literature …

Patrick White’s Tribute to the Whitlam Government

By Patrick White

Vol. 33, No. 2 (1974)

PATRICK WHITE, who was awarded the 1973 Nobel Prize for Literature, spoke at an Australian Labor Party rally at the Opera House, Sydney, on 13 May.

‘Prime Minister, ladies and gentlemen. It’s a double privilege to be speaking here today …



Patrick White’s Briefcase

By Marcelle Freiman

Winter 2017

The wild mind wears a tie

workmanlike but formal, for writing


Hurtle Duffield’s spliced mind,

life broken by its fire, painting wildly …