I am Nathan Hobby, a PhD student at the University of Western Australia writing a biography of the early life of Australian writer, Katharine Susannah Prichard (1883-1969).
Living out her long life a century ahead of me, much of it in Perth, KSP intrigues me. She was a woman of generosity, passion and paradox. She was a great novelist who brought to life communities in her fiction, from timber workers in the south-west of WA to a family circus. Her fiction is a fascinating mix of, in Sandra Burchill’s phrase, ‘romance, romanticism and politics’. Politics is key to her life; she was a founding member of the Australian Communist Party, and lived her life by her convictions. She was also a wife and then widow to a war hero, Hugo Throssell; his suicide followed that of her own father.
Writing a life is a complicated and interesting endeavour, and part of my project is to understand and utilise the possibilities of biography. It is a genre I came to after writing a novel for my Masters about a biographical quest. I realised biography is a genre which combines the appeal of narrative with the allure of the archives and the hope of capturing the past. This blog will reflect my conviction that biography is all around us – and it matters.
I have a background as a novelist and librarian. My novel, The Fur, won the T. A. G. Hungerford Award and was published by Fremantle Press (2004). I can be contacted by email, nathan.hobby at research.uwa.edu.au. You can read my non-biographical writings at The Annotations of Nathan Hobby.