BREAKING NEWS: Randolph Stow Dead at 74

by |June 1, 2010

THE renowned West Australian writer Randolph Stow has died in England at the age of 74.

Stow, whose masterpiece The Merry-Go-Round in the Sea evoked his childhood growing up around Geraldton in the 1940s, died in hospital on Saturday near his home in the Essex village of Old Harwich.

He won the Miles Franklin Award in 1958 for his novel To the Islands, which explored relations between indigenous and white Australians based on his experience at an Anglican mission. (The Australian)

I was first introduced to the work of Randolph Stow at school when were set Midnite: The Story of a Wild Colonial Boy to read. I didn’t read it. None of us did, but our determined teacher would not give up and read it to us. I remember lying on the carpet beneath my desk completely lost in the story and growling when the bell rang.

For those who have not read Randolph Stow I can recommend The Merry-Go-Round in the Sea. I read this years later and wanted to move to Geraldton after reading it. The book is a wonderful evocation of childhood – its joys and its disappointments.

Rest in Peace, Randolph (and thank you)

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John Purcell (aka Natasha Walker) is the author of The Secret Lives of Emma trilogy published by Random House Australia. The Secret Lives of Emma: Beginnings reached the top ten on the Australian fiction charts and Natasha/John was the tenth highest selling Australian novelist and third highest selling Australian debut author in 2012. The trilogy has since sold over 50,000 copies in print and ebook and has been translated into French, Korean and Polish. John has worked in the book industry for over twenty-five years. While still in his twenties he opened John’s Bookshop, a second-hand bookshop in Mosman in which he sat for ten years reading, ranting and writing. Now he is the Director of Books at

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