WA Writer’s Websites #7: Katharine Susannah Prichard


The writers’ centre in Greenmount, KSP House, has some excellent pages devoted to its eponym. Katharine Susannah Prichard (1884-1969) is a giant of Western Australian literature.  A communist and strident critic of injustice, her work is of great literary and historical value.  (She also gave David Helfgott piano lessons, I seem to remember.)

You’ll find on the site:

  • an interesting outline of her life and work
  • a list of all her works held at the writing centre 
  • photographs of her

On the site, Bruce Bennett writes:

In her thirteen novels, five collections of stories, twelve plays and the autobiography Child of the Hurricane, (1964), Katharine Susannah Prichard has left abundant record of her often inspired attempts to express ‘the life of our people and country with love and an intense intimate sympathy’.

Coonardoo is generally recognised as one of her best works; it’s the only book of hers I’ve read, but I  recommend it.  At the time I read it, I wrote, ‘It reads to my mind like an Australian station retelling of Wuthering Heights (with a little Jane Eyre thrown in).’ A few years ago, it was named by the Australian Society of Authors as one of the best forty Australian books ever.

The writer’s centre is located in the house she lived in for much of her life.

4 thoughts on “WA Writer’s Websites #7: Katharine Susannah Prichard

  1. I may have got this wrong, but I don’t think KSP gave Helfgott lessons. I think she was a kind of patron, getting him to come up to her house and play for her, feeding him meals etc. That’s a recollection from something I read more than a decade ago.

    Last time I was there, her piano was still in the house, too…

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