Tim Winton was born in Karrinyup on the 4th August, 1960 Western Australia, but moved at age of 12 to the regional city of Albany. He is a well-known novelist and writes in the genres of literature, children’s literature, non-fiction and short stories.
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.” His themes often centre on an issue which is described by the character Gail in The Turning when she says that “every vivid experience comes from your adolescence”.
Whilst at Curtin University 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”. His second book, Shallows, won the Miles Franklin Award in 1984. It wasn’t until Cloudstreet was published in 1991, however, that his writing career was properly established. His most recent novel, Breath, was published in 2008.
In 1995, Winton’s The Riders was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize for Fiction, as was his 2002 book, Dirt Music. Both are currently being adapted for film. 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).
Tim Winton is now one of Australia’s most esteemed novelists, writing for both adults and children. 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. 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.
Winton is also actively involved in the Australian environmental movement. He is a patron of the Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS) and is passionately involved in many of their campaigns, notably their work in raising awareness about sustainable seafood consumption. He is a patron of the Stop the Toad Foundation and contributed to the whaling debate with an article on the Last Whale website. 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. 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.”
Winton has been named a Living Treasure by the National Trust and awarded the Centenary Medal for service to literature and the community. He is patron of the Tim Winton Award for Young Writers sponsored by the City of Subiaco, Western Australia.
He has lived in Italy, France, Ireland and Greece but currently lives in Fremantle, near Perth, with his wife and three children.