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Katharine Susannah Prichard (1883–1969)

Author of Coonardoo

Includes the names: Katherine Prichard, Katharine S. Prichard, Katherine Susannah Prichard, Katharine Susannah Prichard

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Katharine Susannah Prichard was born in Fiji and spent her childhood in Tasmania, before moving to Melbourne, Australia, where her father, a newspaper editor, was the editor of the Melbourne Sun. She won a scholarship to South Melbourne College and then worked as a governess and journalist. She went on assignment to Europe in 1908 and stayed in London and Paris for several years. Her first novel, The Pioneers, was the winner of a newspaper competition and was published in 1915. After her return to Australia, she published the romance Windlestraws and her first novel of a mining community, Black Opal. She married Captain Hugo "Jim" Throssell, a hero of World War I, with whom she had one son, and in 1920 moved with him to Western Australia, where she lived for the rest of her life. In her personal life, she always referred to herself as Mrs Hugo Throssell. In 1921, she became a founding member of the Communist Party of Australia and also founded several left-wing women's groups. In the 1920s, she wrote the two novels that would make her Australia's first internationally recognized writer: Working Bullocks (1926) and Coonardoo (1929). During the 1930s, she campaigned in support of the Republic in Spain and other anti-fascist causes. With the novel Intimate Strangers (1937) she began to promote the cause of peace and social justice. Her massive work, The Goldfields Trilogy -- comprising The Roaring Nineties (1946), Golden Miles (1948), and Winged Seeds (1950) -- explored social and personal histories in Western Australia's goldfields from the 1890s to 1946. She also wrote 10 plays, five collections of short stories, two films, and two volumes of poetry. Her autobiography was called The Child of the Hurricane (1964), after the events surrounding her birth.
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