Barley Patch



Gerald Murnane is regarded by many as Australia’s most innovative writer of fiction. Barley Patch is his first new work in fourteen years, written after a period in which he had thought he would never write fiction again.

The book begins with the question, ‘Must I write?’ What follows is both a chronicle of the images that have endured in the author’s mind, and an exploration of their nature. The clarity of the images is extraordinary, as is their range, from Mandrake the Magician to the bachelor uncle kicked in the ‘stones’ as a child, from the country cousin’s doll’s house to the mysterious woman who lets her hair down, from the soldier beetle who winks messages from God to the racehorses that run forever in the author’s mind, beyond the grasslands, to the place where the characters of fiction dwell before they come into existence in books.

Print ISBN : 978-1-920882-53-2
pp : 320
October 2009

Gerald Murnane was born in Melbourne in 1939. He spent part of his childhood in country Victoria, then moved back to the suburbs of Melbourne in 1949. He has published seven books of fiction, and is a recipient of the Patrick White Literary Award, and an Australia Council Emeritus Writer’s Award.

Visit the Gerald Murnane: Online Archive


Barley Patch has won the 2010 Adelaide Festival Literature Award for Innovation.
Gerald Murnane has also won the 2010 Melbourne Prize for his body of work.