Garry Disher (born 15 August 1949) grew up in rural South Australia. His novels often draw on memories of life in dry wheat and wool country, where his family has farmed for generations. 'I've always written, and long wanted to write about the mid-north', says the author.
Disher has an Arts degree from The University of Adelaide, a Diploma of Education from La Trobe University, and an MA in history from Monash University. His first story was published in Overland magazine in 1976, and many others have followed. On the strength of these he was awarded a creative writing fellowship at Stanford University, California, where he wrote his first short-story collection.
A widely travelled author, he spent several years in England, Israel, southern Africa, then later the USA, and in 1987 in Tuscany, Italy. Some of these places have inspired Disher's writing, but the mid-north of South Australia is the space he has always wanted to reconstruct in his fiction. This region provides the setting for The Sunken Road, the Wyatt thriller Paydirt, the children's novels The Bamboo Flute, Walk Twenty, Run Twenty, Blame the Wind, and The Apostle Bird, and the short stories "Manhunt", "Old Ground", "Artifacts" and "Dead Eye".
When he returned to Australia, he taught creative writing to supplement his writer's income. He wrote across many genres - 'literary' and children's fiction, writers' books, history textbooks, thrillers. In 1989 he turned to full-time writing, and he also stopped producing non-fiction books. His workstyle is probably emblematic for the professional writer of the last decade of our century. On this Disher says: 'I'm always thinking of new fiction ideas (for a crime novel while I'm writing a 'literary' novel, for example), but I tend only to work on one kind at a time. I try to alternate - for example, I'm writing a 'literary' novel this year, and next year will write a children's novel and start a new crime series - but sometimes other factors interrupt that (for example, if I suffer writer's block I may put a project aside and start another in a different genre), and economic factors and contractual obligations influence my decisions.'
Disher has published more than 30 books (see bibliography), from the lyrical and heartwarming The Bamboo Flute, to the hardboiled Wyatt thrillers, or the acclaimed South Australian novel, The Sunken Road. He has put together anthologies, and contributed to periodicals in Australia and abroad. His mastery of the craft has brought him professional satisfaction in each genre chosen as a means of literary expression - The Bamboo Flute won the Children's Book of the Year Award in 1993, was shortlisted for the NSW Premier's Award, represented Australia at the IBBY Conference in Spain, and was voted one of the best books of the year by Publishers Weekly in the USA; two of his short story colections have been shortlisted for the Steele Rudd Award; the Wyatt novels have convinced the reading public and such authoritative voices in the field as Peter Corris, Stephen Knight, Marele Day and Stuart Coupe, many critics considering Disher the best Australian thriller writer at present.
A full-time writer for nine years now, Garry Disher lives with his partner and daughter near the coast on Victoria's Mornington Peninsula.
Garry Disher contact address:c/o Jenny Darling and Associates PO Box 235 Richmond Vic. 3121 Tel: 03 9827 3883
Additional Biographical Information:
Writer-in-Residence, The University of Northumbria, Newcastle, United Kingdom, 1998
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