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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While still in his twenties, John Purcell opened a second-hand bookshop in Mosman, Sydney, in which he sat for ten years reading, ranting and writing. Since then he has written, under a pseudonym, a series of very successful novels, interviewed hundreds of writers about their work, appeared at writers’ festivals, on TV (most bizarrely in comedian Luke McGregor’s documentary Luke Warm Sex) and has been featured in prominent newspapers and magazines. ​Now, as the Director of Books at, Australia’s largest online bookseller, he supports Australian writing in all its forms. He lives in Sydney with his wife, two children, three dogs, five cats, unnumbered gold fish and his overlarge book collection. His novel, The Girl on the Page, will be published by HarperCollins Australia in October, 2018.

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