Roger McDonald was born at Young, New South Wales, and educated at country schools and in Sydney. He began his working life as a teacher, ABC producer, and book editor, wrote poetry for several years, but in his thirties turned to fiction, expressing the feeling that for him, at least, poetry was ‘unable to express a full range of characters and moods, the larger panorama of Australian life that I felt was there to portray’.
His first novel was 1915 (Picador, 1979), a novel of Gallipoli, winner of the 1979 Age Book of the Year and the South Australian Biennial Literature Prize 1980, and made into a highly successful eight-part ABC-TV mini-series (now on DVD). Slipstream (Picador, 1982); Rough Wallaby (Picador, 1988); Water Man (Picador, 1993), which was shortlisted for the 1994 Miles Franklin Award; and The Slap (Picador, 1996) followed, each of these novels drawing intensively on imaginative, poetic takes on rural living.
Since 1980 McDonald has lived on farms (no farm animals except poultry and a corrugated iron sheep, these days) outside Braidwood, south-eastern New South Wales, with intervals spent in Sydney and New Zealand. His account of travelling the outback with a team of New Zealand shearers, Shearers’ Motel, won the National Book Council Banjo Award for non-fiction.
His bestselling novel Mr Darwin’s Shooter (Picador, 1998) was awarded the New South Wales, Victorian, and South Australian Premiers’ Literary Awards, and the National Fiction Award at the 2000 Adelaide Writers’ Week.
The Ballad of Desmond Kale (Random House, 2006) won the 2006 Miles Franklin Award and South Australian Festival Prize for Fiction.
A long story that became part of When Colts Ran (Random House, 2010) was awarded the O. Henry Prize (USA) in 2008. When Colts Ran was shortlisted for the 2011 Miles Franklin Award.
In 2013 his next novel The Following was published and his latest novel, A Sea Chase, will be published towards the end of 2017 by Penguin Random House.
For enquiries about Roger’s publication, audio, film and TV rights, please contact
Jeanne Ryckmans: email@example.com