Patricia Shaw (novelist)

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Patricia Shaw (born 1929 in Melbourne, Australia) is an Australian novelist and non-fiction writer.


Patricia Shaw spent her early years in Koo Wee Rup in Victoria, where her family owned a hotel. Her father was a bookmaker.[1] After marrying, she and her husband moved to Surfers Paradise, Queensland in the late 1950s. Her husband was in the Royal Australian Navy and was mostly absent; after having two children, they divorced.[1]

For a number of years she was a member of the staff of Eric Robinson, member of parliament and a minister in the Fraser Government. On his sudden death in 1981, she received a widow's pension, supplemented by freelance writing.[1]

She read History at university and subsequently assisted the Governor of Queensland as a text writer. In 1983, she became head of the Oral History Department of the Parliamentary Library.

Shaw was 52 years old before she began to write fiction. Among her many novels, most of which centre on the settlement of the Australian hinterland and which earned her the sobriquet of "Australia's Chronicler", the most widely known are River of the Sun (1991) and The Opal Seekers (1996).

Shaw began her writing career after her daughter, Desiree Shaw, won the lottery, landing her a hefty sum of $2 million. With a small amount of this money Patricia was able to buy herself a house at the Gold Coast, Queensland and begin writing. One of her books, 'The Glittering Fields', tells the story of this event and how it changed her life.

A lot of Shaw's popularity and success came from overseas. Her books were extremely successful in Germany. She spent a lot of her time in Germany because of this and earned herself the nickname "The Frankfurt Poet". She has also written two works of non-fiction regarding Australia's era of settlement.

Patricia Shaw is also actively involved in the protection of Australia's native animals and birds.


2004 Corine Literature Prize (readers' choice award) for The Five Winds.



  • Brother Digger (1984)
  • Pioneers of a Trackless Land


  • Valley of Lagoons (1989)
  • River of the Sun (1991)
  • The Feather and the Stone (1992)
  • Where the Willows Weep (1993, sequel to Valley of Lagoons)
  • Cry of the Rainbird (1994)
  • Fire Fortune (1995)
  • The Opal Seekers (1996)
  • Glittering Fields (1997)
  • A Cross of Stars (1998)
  • Orchid Bay (1999)
  • Waiting for the Thunder (2000, the sequel to The Feather and the Stone)
  • On Emerald Downs (2002)
  • The Five Winds (2003, the sequel to Orchid Bay)
  • Storm Bay (2005)
  • Mango Hill (2007, the sequel to Where the Willows Weep)


  1. ^ a b c Elisabeth Wynhausen, "Aussie Wunderfrau", Weekend Australian, 20–21 December 1997, Review, p. 9

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