'I can't let you have my 'papers' because I don't keep any,' Patrick White told the National Library of Australia in 1977, ' ... and anything unfinished when I die is to be burnt.'
Despite White’s claim, a significant amount of important material – from notebooks to photographs to letters survived – and was acquired by the National Library in 2006, 16 years after White’s death. It will form the basis of The Life of Patrick White which opens at the National Library in Canberra on Friday, 13 April, 2012.
The exhibition marks 100 years since the birth of White, Australia’s only Nobel Laureate in Literature. It looks at the life of a man, as famous for his writing skills as for his ferocious temper. From his love of dogs to his favourite recipes to unpublished manuscripts, the exhibition examines his life via the places he lived with partner Manoly Lascaris. It includes his beloved farm Dogwoods in Castle Hill – where, prior to moving out in 1964, he dug a pit, threw most of his possessions in, and set them on fire.
It also looks at White’s life in all its guises and provides a rich insight into the post-war Australian cultural scene – via the man who was often its star attraction.
The Life of Patrick White opens at the National Library of Australia in Canberra on 13 April 2012 and runs until 8 July 2012. It will then travel to Sydney to be exhibited at the State Library of NSW from 20 August to 28 October 2012.
Sally Hopman, Media Liaison Manager, 02 6262 1704 or 0401 226 697
High-res images from the exhibition are available at: http://www.nla.gov.au/media-zone
This exhibition is supported by the National Collecting Institutions Touring and Outreach Program, an Australian Government program aiming to improve access to the national collections for all Australians.