Christopher Koch

Christopher John Koch OAM (b 1932), internationally acclaimed novelist. Born and educated in Tasmania, he early aspired to be an artist and a poet, but it was the first of his six novels, The boys in the island (1958), that brought him recognition and demonstrated his ability to lyrically evoke the Tasmanian landscape. A creator of memorable characters, a profound, original and enduring storyteller, all his novels, including The doubleman (1985) and Highways to a war (1996) both of which won the Miles Franklin Award, and, particularly, Out of Ireland, draw on his Tasmanian background. His novels encompass other Asian and Australian locations with notable authenticity and he has spent much of his life outside Tasmania, but the island remains his primary inspiration and he arguably its most notable prose interpreter.

Further reading: N Henricksen, Island and otherland, Melbourne, 2003.

Gillian Winter