Detailed Pedia

Roger McDonald

Roger McDonald
BornHugh Roger McDonald
(1941-06-23)23 June 1941
Young, New South Wales
Notable worksThe Ballad of Desmond Kale
Notable awardsMiles Franklin Award, 2006
Years active1962-

Roger McDonald (born 23 June 1941, at Young, New South Wales, Australia) is the award-winning author of several novels and a number of non-fiction works. He is also an accomplished poet and TV scriptwriter.

Life and career

The middle son of a Presbyterian minister, Hugh Fraser McDonald, 1909–81, and the Central Queensland historian, Dr Lorna McDonald, 1916-2017, his childhood was spent in the NSW country towns of Bribbaree, Temora, and Bourke, before the family moved to Sydney. He attended The Scots College and the University of Sydney.

He was briefly a teacher, ABC producer, and publisher's editor in NSW, Tasmania, and Queensland, before moving to Canberra and taking up writing full-time in 1976, in order to complete his first novel, 1915. McDonald has since 1980 lived near Braidwood, NSW, apart from periods in Sydney and New Zealand.

His novels are 1915, Slipstream, Rough Wallaby, Water Man, The Slap, Mr Darwin's Shooter, The Ballad of Desmond Kale, When Colts Ran, The Following and A Sea-Chase. Non-fiction: Shearers' Motel and The Tree In Changing Light.

1915 won The Age Book of the Year in 1979 and the South Australian Biennial Literature Prize in 1980. In 1982 it was made into a seven-part ABC-TV television series. (Scripting: Peter Yeldham)

Shearers' Motel won the 1993 Banjo National Book Council Banjo Award for non-fiction. It was filmed as "Cross Turning Over" for ABC-TV in 1996 (Director: Robert Klenner)

McDonald was nominated for the Miles Franklin Award in 1994 for Water Man, and in 1999 for Mr Darwin's Shooter, which in that year won the New South Wales Premier's Literary Awards, the Victorian Premier's Literary Award, the South Australian Premier's Awards, and the Adelaide Festival Book of the Year.

The Ballad of Desmond Kale won the Miles Franklin Award in 2006 and the Adelaide Festival Prize for Fiction in 2008. McDonald won the O. Henry Award in 2008 for "The Bullock Run" (USA). This story forms the basis of chapters 15 and 16 of When Colts Ran.

McDonald's eighth novel, When Colts Ran, 2010, was shortlisted for the 2011 Miles Franklin Award, the 2011 Victorian Premier's Prize for Fiction, and the 2011 Prime Minister's Literary Award for Fiction.

His ninth novel, The Following, was published in 2013. A fictionalised reimagining of the life of Australian Prime Minister Ben Chifley, the story centres on the rise to prominence and legacy of Marcus Friendly. Of the book, Sydney Morning Herald reviewer Daniel Herborn wrote: 'The Following is just as interested in the sweep of history as in those who are caught up in, and occasionally influence, the great social changes it surveys. Its themes of destiny, sectarianism and political patronage echo across generations as the influence of Friendly rises and wanes.'[1]

His tenth novel, A Sea-Chase was published in October 2017. The book follows the fortunes of young teacher Judy Compton. After fleeing a rioting classroom one dismal Friday, she gets drunk and wakes up on a boat. Overnight her life changes; she is in love with being on the water and in love with Wes Bannister. But then events at sea challenge everything she holds dearest...




  • Mike Willesee's Australians (1988)
  • Reflecting Labour: Images of Myth and Origin Over 100 Years (1991)
  • Shearers' Motel (1992)
  • Australia's Flying Doctors (1994) (text for Richard Woldendorp photographs)
  • The Tree in Changing Light (2001)
  • Wool: The Australian Story (2003) (text for Richard Woldendorp photographs)
  • Australia's Wild Places (2009). Canberra: National Library of Australia


  • Citizens of Mist (1969)
  • Airship (1975)


  • The First Paperback Poets Anthology (1974)
  • Gone Bush (1990)

Television scripts


  1. ^ Herborn, Daniel. "The Following review". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 11 October 2017.

External links

This page was last updated at 2020-02-24 02:16 UTC. Update now. View original page.

All our content comes from Wikipedia and under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License.