Masters Series: Tim Winton

We are thrilled to present this conversation with Australian literary legend – Tim Winton. This is a conversation Kate has been hoping to have since…well, since she was sixteen years old. 

Tim Winton has published twenty-nine books for adults and children, and his work has been translated into twenty-eight languages. Since his first novel, An Open Swimmer, won the Australian Vogel Award in 1981, he has won the Miles Franklin Award four times (for Shallows, Cloudstreet, Dirt Music and Breath) and twice been shortlisted for the Booker Prize (for The Riders and Dirt Music). Tim Winton’s fiction includes the novels: An Open Swimmer (1982), Shallows (1984), That Eye, the Sky (1986), In the Winter Dark (1988), Cloudstreet (1991), The Riders (1994), Dirt Music (2001), Breath (2008), Eyrie (2013) and The Shepherd’s Hut (2018); three collections of stories: Scission (1985), Minimum of Two (1987) and The Turning (2004); three plays: Rising Water (2011), Signs of Life (2012) and Shrine (2013); and for younger readers: Jesse (1988), Lockie Leonard, Human Torpedo (1990),The Bugalugs Bum Thief (1991), Lockie Leonard, Scumbuster (1993), Lockie Leonard, Legend (1997), Blueback (1997) and The Deep (1998). His non-fiction appears in three collections: Land’s Edge – A coastal memoir (1993), Island Home – A landscape memoir (2015) and The Boy Behind the Curtain (2016). He lives in Western Australia.

Winton is the 2023 recipient of the ABIA Lloyd O’Neil Award – presented for a lifetime of distinguished and outstanding service to publishing and literary culture.

Tim’s latest project is a three-part documentary series Ningaloo premiering in Australia on Tuesday 16 May at 8:30pm on ABC TV and ABC iview. To find out more about the ongoing work to protect Ningaloo visit Protect Ningaloo.

Kate and Tim discuss:

  • Tim’s first experience of Ningaloo and diving with a whale shark
  • Why Ningaloo was a place where Tim’s ‘doomy passivity was overcome by a big blue wave of hope
  • Tim’s experience of environmental advocacy and why it’s important to get organised
  • Writing to the ‘word budget’ of television
  • The influence of Faulkner, Flannery OConnor, Elizabeth Jolley and Helen Garner
  • The impact of Cloudstreet on his writing career
  • Building ‘a shell’ to deal with public opinion – both good and bad
  • The duties of artists and citizens in responding to the climate catastrophe

Tim Winton’s advice:

Essentially you’re trying to do something that’s very, very, very difficult and you’re more likely to fail than succeed and that’s okay, you know. You learn from everything that doesn’t work.’

Tim will be on tour this coming week with events in Castlemaine, Kyneton, Sydney Writers Festival, Brisbane Writers Festival and Fremantle:

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