The Red Witch

A Biography of Katharine Susannah Prichard

Nathan Hobby
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The Red Witch

Published

17 May 2022

ISBN

9780522877380

Pages

464

Weight

880g

Size

242mm x 165mm

Imprint

Miegunyah Press

The Red Witch

A Biography of Katharine Susannah Prichard

Nathan Hobby
The captivating new biography of an Australian literary giant
Novelist, journalist and activist Katharine Susannah Prichard won fame for vivid novels that broke new ground depicting distinctly Australian ways of life and work - from Gippsland pioneers and West Australian prospectors to Pilbara station hands and outback opal miners. Her prize-winning debut The Pioneers made her a celebrity but she turned away from jaunty romances to write a trio of inter-war classics, Working Bullocks, Coonardoo and Haxby's Circus. Heralded in her time as the 'hope of the Australian novel', her good friend Miles Franklin called Prichard 'Australia's most distinguished tragedian' This biography of a literary giant traces Prichard's journey from the genteel poverty of her Melbourne childhood to her impulsive marriage to Victoria Cross winner Hugo Throssell, and finally on to her long widowhood as a 'red witch', marked out from society by her loyalty to the Soviet Union and her unconventional ways. Through meticulous archival research and…
Novelist, journalist and activist Katharine Susannah Prichard won fame for vivid novels that broke new ground depicting distinctly Australian ways of life and work - from Gippsland pioneers and West Australian prospectors to Pilbara station hands and outback opal miners. Her prize-winning debut The Pioneers made her a celebrity but she turned away from jaunty romances to write a trio of inter-war classics, Working Bullocks, Coonardoo and Haxby's Circus. Heralded in her time as the 'hope of the Australian novel', her good friend Miles Franklin called Prichard 'Australia's most distinguished tragedian'. This biography of a literary giant traces Prichard's journey from the genteel poverty of her Melbourne childhood to her impulsive marriage to Victoria Cross winner Hugo Throssell, and finally on to her long widowhood as a 'red witch', marked out from society by her loyalty to the Soviet Union and her unconventional ways. Through meticulous archival research and historical detective work, Nathan Hobby reveals many unknown aspects of Prichard's life, including the likely identity of the mysterious lover who influenced her deeply in her twenties, her withdrawal from politics during her remarkable five-year literary peak and an intimate friendship with poet Hugh McCrae. Lively and detailed, The Red Witch is a gripping narrative alert to the drama and tragedy of Prichard's remarkable life.

Deeply researched and engagingly written.”
The West Australian

Nathan Hobby’s biography of Katharine Susannah Prichard is an eloquent and powerful tracing of the life of one of Australia’s once most celebrated writers.”
Ian Syson, Sydney Morning Herald

This beautifully crafted biography is a fitting tribute to her memory.”
The Canberra Times

A definitive biography, a book tracing her life and the formation of the Australian literary culture she helped to create.”
The Saturday Paper

A revealing account of Prichard's thrilling life and a sensitive tribute to one of literary Australia's most curious founding figures ... Anyone who still believes Australian literature only began mid-20th century with male figures such as Patrick White needs to read this informative and engrossing work.”
Books + Publishing

Prichard is a key figure in Australian literary history, a key figure in Australia’s intellectual history, and a key figure in Australia’s left-wing political history ... Hobby aims to show a “lived life”.”
The Conversation

Sympathetic, comprehensive and well-documented.”
Australian Women Writers

An absorbing, compelling biography of one of Australia’s major authors.”
Sydney Arts Guide

Hobby’s book is decades overdue ... Through it, readers will come to know one of our greatest novelists.”
Queensland reviewers collective

An engaging and eloquent biography of a significant figure of Australian literature and politics about whom we have, until now, no more than a cursory knowledge.”
Rochford Street Review

A literary biography can be a form of creative writing in the way it engages with its audience, its shaping of amorphous material, its narrative drive, its style and elegance. This one does all these things in an original way … Hobby’s prose is clear, supple and alive with gentle humour. His lightness of touch belies the exhaustive detail of the research.”
Nicholas Jose

This biography is smooth-as-silk. What an excellent writer he is. Always provisional with information he cannot entirely verify, in command of politics and context and self-effacing. Such an important book.”
Brenda Walker

Nathan Hobby

Nathan Hobby

Nathan Hobby is a Perth author, librarian and honorary research fellow at the University of Western Australia. His novel The Fur (Fremantle Press 2004) won the TAG Hungerford Award. He blogs at nathanhobby.com.

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Hardback
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Ships in 1–3 days
Other formats available