Tim Winton

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Tim Winton

Tim Winton375-500e.jpg
Winton at the launch of Breath in London, 2008
BornTimothy John Winton
4 August 1960 (1960-08-04) (age 62)
Subiaco, Western Australia, Australia
GenreLiterature, children's, non-fiction, short story
Notable works Cloudstreet
Dirt Music
Notable awards Miles Franklin
1984, 1992, 2002, 2009

Timothy John Winton AO (born 4 August 1960) is an Australian writer. He has written novels, children's books, non-fiction books, and short stories. In 1997, he was named a Living Treasure by the National Trust of Australia, and has won the Miles Franklin Award four times.


Life and career

Timothy John Winton was born on 4 August 1960 [1] in Subiaco, an inner western suburb of Perth, Western Australia. He grew up in the northern Perth suburb of Karrinyup, [2] [3] before he moved with his family to the regional city of Albany at the age of 12. [4]

Whilst at the Western Australian Institute of Technology, Winton wrote his first novel, An Open Swimmer , which won The Australian/Vogel Literary Award in 1981, launching his writing career. He has stated that he wrote "the best part of three books while at university". [5] His second book, Shallows , won the Miles Franklin Award in 1984. Winton published Cloudstreet in 1991, which properly established his writing career. [5] He has continued to publish fiction, plays and non-fiction material.

Personal life

Winton has lived in Italy, France, Ireland and Greece, [6] but currently lives in Western Australia. [7] He met his wife Denise when they were children at school. When he was 18 and recovering from a car accident, they reconnected as she was a student nurse. They married when Winton was 21 and she was 20, and had three children together. [6] They live on the coast north of Perth. [7]

Winton’s younger brother, Andrew Winton, is a musician and a high school chaplain. His younger sister is Sharyn O'Neill, who in 2018 became the Public Sector Commissioner of Western Australia, after 12 years as Director General of the WA Education Department. [8]

As his fame has grown, Winton has guarded his and his family's privacy. He rarely speaks in public yet he is known as "an affable, plain-speaking man of unaffected intelligence and deep emotions." [9]

Reception and honours

In 1995, Winton's The Riders was shortlisted for the Booker Prize for Fiction, as was his 2001 book, Dirt Music . Dirt Music (film) was released in 2019. He has won many other prizes, including the Miles Franklin Award a record four times: for Shallows (1984), Cloudstreet (1992), Dirt Music (2002) and Breath (2009). Cloudstreet regularly appears in lists of Australia's best-loved novels. [10]

All his books are still in print and have been published in eighteen different languages. His work has also been successfully adapted for stage, screen and radio. [11] On the publication of his novel, Dirt Music, he collaborated with broadcaster Lucky Oceans to produce a compilation CD, Dirt Music – Music for a Novel . [12]

Winton has been named a Living Treasure by the National Trust [13] and awarded the Centenary Medal for service to literature and the community. [14] In 2023, Winton was awarded the ABIA Lloyd O’Neil Award for outstanding service to the Australian book industry. [15] Curtin University has named a lecture theatre in his honour. [16]

The Tim Winton Young Writers Award, sponsored annually since 1993 by the City of Subiaco, recognizes young writers in the Perth metropolitan area. [17] It is open to short story writers of primary school and secondary school age. Three compilations have been published: Destination Unknown (2001) [18] Life Bytes (2002), [19] and Hatched: Celebrating Twenty Years of the Tim Winton Award for Young Writers (2013). The latter features the winning story from each year of the award from 1993 to 2012. [20] Winton is the patron of the competition. [21]

Winton was appointed as an Officer of the Order of Australia in the 2023 King's Birthday Honours for "distinguished service to literature as an author and novelist, to conservation, and to environmental advocacy". [22]

Style and themes

Winton draws his prime inspiration from landscape and place, mostly coastal Western Australia. He has said "The place comes first. If the place isn't interesting to me then I can't feel it. I can't feel any people in it. I can't feel what the people are on about or likely to get up to." [23]

Dr Jules Smith for the British Council wrote about Winton,

"His books are boisterous and lyrical by turns, warm-hearted in their depictions of family life but with characters that often have to be in extremis in order to find themselves. They have a wonderful feeling for the strange beauty of Australia; are frequently flavoured with Aussie vernacular expressions, and a good deal of emotional directness. They question macho role models (his books are full of strong women and troubled men) and are prepared to risk their realist credibility with enigmatic, even visionary endings." [24]

Winton revisits place and, occasionally, characters from one book to another. Queenie Cookson, for example, is a character in Breath who also appears in Shallows , Minimum of Two and in two of the Lockie Leonard books.

Environmental advocacy

Winton is actively involved in the Australian environmental movement. He is a patron of the Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS) and is involved in many of their campaigns, notably their work in raising awareness about sustainable seafood consumption. [25] He is a patron of the Stop the Toad Foundation and contributed to the whaling debate with an article on the Last Whale website. [26] He is also a prominent advocate of the Save Moreton Bay organisation, the Environment Defender's Office, the Australian Wildlife Conservancy and the Marine Conservation Society, with which he is campaigning against shark finning. [27]

In 2003, Winton was awarded the inaugural Australian Society of Authors (ASA) Medal in recognition for his work in the campaign to save the Ningaloo Reef.

Winton keeps away from the public eye, unless promoting a new book or supporting an environmental issue. He told reviewer Jason Steger "Occasionally they wheel me out for green advocacy stuff but that's the only kind of stuff I put my head up for." [28]

In 2016, species of fish from the Kimberley region was named after him. [29]

In March 2017 Winton was named patron of the newly established Native Australian Animals Trust. [30] He has always featured the environment and the Australian landscape in his writings. The trust was established to help research and teaching about native animals and their environment. Associate Professor Tim Dempster, School of Biosciences is quoted as saying, "Australia has a unique and charismatic animal fauna, but our state of knowledge about it is poor. Indeed species can go extinct before we even know of their existence. We have much to learn from our fauna, and a pressing need to do so." [31]

In 2023 a mini documentary series was released by the ABC called Ningaloo Nyinggulu, which he was the presenter for.



Short fiction

Stories [32]
TitleYearFirst publishedReprinted/collectedNotes
Abbreviation2003"Abbreviation"/"Ten viet tat", Truyen ngan Uc/Australian Short Stories, Rose Moxham (ed), Trinh Lu (translator), Hoi Nhaa Van, 2005
Aquifer2000Winton, Tim (Summer 2000). "Aquifer". Granta. 70: 39–52.The Beacon Best of 2001, Junot Diaz (ed), Beacon Press, 2001
Big world2004Journeys: Modern Australian Short Stories, Barry Oakley (ed), Five Mile Press, 2007
Cockleshell2004"Cockleshell", Harvard Review, No. 27, Christina Thompson (ed), 2004
Small mercies2006Novella


Children's books




Critical studies and reviews of Winton's work

Awards and nominations

Full list of awards and nominations:

An Open Swimmer


Scission and Other Stories

Minimum of Two and Other Stories

Jesse (picture book)


Lockie Leonard, Human Torpedo

Lockie Leonard, Scumbuster

The Bugalugs Bum Thief

The Riders


Lockie Leonard, Legend

Dirt Music

The Turning



Island Home : A Landscape Memoir

The Boy Behind the Curtain

The Shepherd's Hut

Related Research Articles

The Miles Franklin Literary Award is an annual literary prize awarded to "a novel which is of the highest literary merit and presents Australian life in any of its phases". The award was set up according to the will of Miles Franklin (1879–1954), who is best known for writing the Australian classic My Brilliant Career (1901). She bequeathed her estate to fund this award. As of 2016, the award is valued at A$60,000.

<i>Cloudstreet</i> Novel by Tim Winton

Cloudstreet is a novel by Australian writer Tim Winton published in 1991. It chronicles the lives of two working-class families, the Pickles and the Lambs, who come to live together in a large house called Cloudstreet in Perth, Western Australia, over a period of twenty years, 1943 to 1963. The novel received several awards, including a Miles Franklin Award in 1992, and has been adapted into various forms, including a stage play and a television miniseries.

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<i>The Riders</i>

The Riders (1994) is a novel by Australian author Tim Winton published in 1994. It was shortlisted for the Booker Prize in 1995. Winton has won several literary awards.

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External video
Nuvola apps kaboodle.svg Tim Winton laments the power of toxic masculinity on young men, Matter Of Fact With Stan Grant, ABC News