Dirt Music

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Dirt Music
First edition cover
Author Tim Winton
Country Australia
Language English
Publisher Picador
Publication date
Pages 465
ISBN 0-330-36323-9
OCLC 48561064
823/.914 22
LC Class PR9619.3.W585 D57 2001

Dirt Music by author Tim Winton is a Booker prize shortlisted novel 2002, and winner of the 2002 Miles Franklin Award. It has been translated into Russian, French and German.[1] The harsh, unyielding climate of Western Australia dominates the actions and events of this thriller.

Plot summary[edit]

Georgie, the heroine of the book, becomes fascinated in watching a stranger attempting to poach fish in an area where nobody can maintain secrets for very long; disillusioned with her relationship with the local fisherman legend Jim Buckridge, she contrives a meeting with the stranger and soon passion runs out of control between two bruised and emotionally fragile people.

The secret quickly becomes impossible to hide and Jim wants revenge, whilst the poacher hikes north via Wittenoom (out of respect for his father who died of mesothelioma in the town) and Broome to an island off the remote coast of Kimberley beyond Kununurra to escape a confrontation. His subsequent struggles to survive in the hostile environment, knowing that he must try to literally cover his tracks, give this book its gripping denouement.[2]


A review by Leigh Mytton on the BBC describes Winton's characterisation as 'incisive" that he "intersperses raw and vernacular language with lyrical passages ... Throughout the novel, it is the indomitable force of nature that pervades."[3]

Paul Daley in the Sydney Morning Herald wrote, "Dirt Music is an Australian novel. But it's not gentle or tame and there's nothing quaint about it. Family dysfunction, loneliness and alcoholism in Winton's part of the world - the harsh, beautiful West Australian coast - are among the elements of this raw, tender and disquieting love story."[4]

Dr Jules Smith for the British Council writes that in Dirt Music Tim Winton, "brings his human and environmental themes together in ways that are always intensely realized and touching".[5]



Tim Winton and Lucky Oceans chose the music for the book's "soundtrack". Released in CD form in Australia in 2001, the two disc set includes both bluegrass and classical music. The music is embodied by a quote from the book: "Anything you could play on a verandah. You know, without electricity. Dirt music."[9]

Film adaptation[edit]

A film adaptation of Dirt Music was in development, to be directed by Phillip Noyce in 2009.[10] By 2014, Noyce admitted that 'I could never get a script that I thought captured the poetry of the novel, and there’s the problem. A poetic novel is just difficult to translate into a movie. It’s a project I’ll come back to I’m sure in the future.'[11]

A Gregor Jordan directed film is in pre-production "[12]. Garrett Hedlund and Kelly Macdonald have been case in the lead roles.


  1. ^ "Dirt Music/ Time Winton". National Library of Australia. Retrieved 6 February 2017.
  2. ^ "Tim Winton : Dirt Music : Book Review". Mostly Fiction. 2003-02-22. Retrieved 2006-10-22.
  3. ^ "Dirt Music paints a bleak picture 16 October 2002". BBC. Retrieved 6 February 2017.
  4. ^ "Tim Winton's big issues 29 May 2002". Sydney Morning Herard. Retrieved 6 February 2017.
  5. ^ "Critical Perspective 2003". Literature British Council. Retrieved 6 February 2017.
  6. ^ a b c d e f "Tim Winton Author Bio". Booktopia. Retrieved 6 February 2017.
  7. ^ "Shortlist 2002". Man Booker Prize. Retrieved 6 February 2017.
  8. ^ "Miles Franklin Literary Award - Every Winner Since 1957". Better Reading. Retrieved 6 February 2017.
  9. ^ "Various – Dirt Music: Music For A Novel By Tim Winton". Discogs. Retrieved 6 Feb 2017.
  10. ^ "Dirt Music 2009". IMDb archive. Archived from the original on 2008-04-11. Retrieved 6 February 2017.
  11. ^ "Interview: Director Phillip Noyce Tackles Science Fiction with The Giver - ComingSoon.net". ComingSoon.net. 2014-07-11. Retrieved 2016-11-04.
  12. ^ {{Cite web|url=https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0810836/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1%7Caccess-date=13 September 2018

External links[edit]