Patricia Wrightson

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Patricia Wrightson
Photograph of Patricia Wrightson, née Alice Patricia Furlonger
Photograph of Patricia Wrightson, née Alice Patricia Furlonger
BornAlice Patricia Furlonger
(1921-07-19)19 July 1921
Lismore, New South Wales, Australia
Died15 March 2010(2010-03-15) (aged 88)
Lismore, New South Wales, Australia
Pen namePatricia Wrightson
OccupationWriter, editor
GenreChildren's literature, folklore, magic realism
SubjectFantasy (nonfiction)
Notable awardsHans Christian Andersen Award for Writing
Order of the British Empire

Patricia Wrightson OBE (19 June 1921 – 15 March 2010) was an Australian writer of several highly regarded and influential children's books.[1] Her reputation came to rest largely on her magic realist titles. Her books, including the widely praised The Nargun and the Stars (1973), were among the first Australian books for children to draw on Australian Aboriginal mythology.[2] Her 27 books have been published in 16 languages.[3]

For her "lasting contribution" as a children's writer, she received the biennial Hans Christian Andersen Medal in 1986.[4][5]

Early life[edit]

She was born on 19 June 1921 in Lismore, New South Wales. She was educated through the State Correspondence School for Isolated Children and St Catherine's College.[2][6]

Literary career[edit]

During World War II, she worked in a munitions factory in Sydney. After her marriage in 1943, she worked as secretary and administrator at Bonalbo District Hospital, from 1946 to 1960, and Sydney District Nursing Association, from 1960 to 1964.[6] She served as Assistant Editor and later editor of the School Magazine, in Sydney, from 1964 to 1970, a literary publication for children.[2][6]

She wrote 27 books during her lifetime and entwined Australian Aboriginal mythology into her writing. As her writing developed, Wrightson's work revealed two key characteristics: her use of Aboriginal folklore, with its rich fantasy and mystery, and her understanding of the importance of the land. Author, editor and academic Mark MacLeod wrote that "Wrightson thought that it might be possible to reconcile Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australian cultures and create a new kind of pan-Australian narrative, in which the human characters from both cultures were strongly aware of and influenced by the metaphysical world that Indigenous Australians had known for 60 000 years."[7] As a non-indigenous person, Wrightson's use of Aboriginal myths and legends in her fiction was questioned by other writers.[8]

She died of "natural causes" on 15 March 2010, a few days after entering a New South Wales hospital.[3]


Selected works[edit]


  1. ^ Obituary The Times, 23 April 2010.
  2. ^ a b c Eccleshare, Julia (9 May 2010). "Patricia Wrightson obituary: Australian children's author inspired by Aboriginal folklore". The Guardian.
  3. ^ a b McGuirk, Rod (March 2010). "Australian author Patricia Wrightson dies at 88". Reprint at Associated Press. Retrieved 29 July 2013.
  4. ^ a b c "Hans Christian Andersen Awards". International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY). Retrieved 29 July 2013.
  5. ^ a b "Patricia Wrightson" (pp. 73–74, by Eva Glistrup). "Candidates for the Hans Christian Andersen Awards 1956–2002" (pp. 110–18).
    The Hans Christian Andersen Awards, 1956–2002. IBBY. Gyldendal. 2002. Hosted by Austrian Literature Online ( Retrieved 29 July 2013.
  6. ^ a b c d Atkins, Jonathan. "Australian author Patricia Wrightson dies". ABC North Coast NSW. Retrieved 25 August 2014.
  7. ^ MacLeod, Mark. "Farwell, Patricia Wrightson". Mark MacLeod Blog On. Retrieved 25 August 2014.
  8. ^ Bradford, Clare (2001), Reading race : Aboriginality in Australian children's literature / Clare Bradford, Melbourne University Press
  9. ^ It's an Honour website
  10. ^ "Dromkeen Medal". Scholastic. Retrieved 15 July 2007.
  11. ^ "About the Author". In Patricia Wrightson, The Nargun and The Stars, Puffin Books, 1973. ISBN 0-14-030780-X.
  12. ^ "New South Wales Premier's Literary Award: the Patricia Wrightson and Ethel Turner awards". Children's and Young Adult Literature. LaTrobe University. Retrieved 25 August 2014.

External links[edit]