A S Patrić – Black Rock White City

Rotunda in the West

A S Patrić – Black Rock White City

Winner of the Miles Franklin Literary Award 2016

Three years ago, Melbourne’s A.S. Patrić couldn’t even get a response, let alone a rejection slip, for his book, Black Rock White City. Then small publisher, Transit Lounge, accepted and published it, and it won the Miles Franklin. Is this a fairy tale? Or a sign of what’s happened in Australian publishing?

We’ll talk with Alec Patrić and Barry Scott (publisher) about the state of literary fiction today, the nuts and bolts of independent publishing, and what’s next for Alec to follow up his momentous win. With Sherryl Clark.

What Alec has to say about meeting his readers –

Meeting the readers

“I’ve been invited to various libraries, and to go and speak to people in that local community and to have 100 people there wanting to talk to me about the book and the experience they had with the book, that’s nice in itself,” he said.
“But it’s so much more than nice when you’ve spent 15 years in absolute oblivion.”
“That’s really what you’re living for. I suppose there are some writers that might be thinking, I’ve sold thousands of copies of the book or whatever, that’s what they find significant, but each one of those moments of contact with a genuine person who has experienced the book is why you do it.”

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More about the book

Black Rock White City is a novel about the damages of war, the limits of choice, and the hope of love.

During a hot Melbourne summer, Jovan’s cleaning work at a bayside hospital is disrupted by acts of graffiti and violence becoming increasingly malevolent. For Jovan the mysterious words that must be cleaned away dislodge the poetry of the past. He and his wife Suzana were forced to flee Sarajevo and the death of their children.

Intensely human, yet majestic in its moral vision, Black Rock White City is an essential story of Australia’s suburbs now, of displacement and immediate threat, and the unexpected responses of two refugees as they try to reclaim their dreams. It is a breathtaking roar of energy that explores the immigrant experience with ferocity, beauty and humour.

‘What impresses first about A.S. Patrić’s novel is the assuredness of the writing, his accomplished and confident language. But what is most moving is the humanity of his story, the vividness and truth of his characters’ emotional worlds. Black Rock White City is a bold, mature and compassionate novel, and I couldn’t put it down.‘ – Christos Tsiolkas

‘A joy to read someone with such an intense devotion to the architecture of writing.’
Cameron Woodhead, The Age

You can read more about Alec’s Miles Franklin win here.



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