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Alexander McPhee "Alex" Miller (born 27 December 1936) is an Australian novelist.[1] Miller is twice winner of the Miles Franklin Award, in 1993 for The Ancestor Game and in 2003 for Journey to the Stone Country.[2] He won the overall award for the Commonwealth Writer's Prize for The Ancestor Game in 1993. He is twice winner of the New South Wales Premier's Literary Awards Christina Stead Prize for Conditions of Faith in 2001 and for Lovesong in 2011. In recognition of his impressive body of work and in particular for his novel Autumn Laing he was awarded the Melbourne Prize for Literature in 2012.[3]

Alex Miller
Alex Miller at Vassar College, New York, 2013
Alex Miller at Vassar College, New York, 2013
BornAlexander McPhee Miller
(1936-12-27) 27 December 1936 (age 82)
London, England
GenreLiterary fiction
Notable worksThe Ancestor Game,
Journey to the Stone Country,
Notable awardsThe Miles Franklin Award
1993, 2003


Alex Miller was born in London to a Scottish father and Irish mother.[1] After working as a farm labourer in Somerset he migrated alone to Australia at the age of 16.[4] He worked as a ringer in Queensland and as a horse breaker in New Zealand before studying at night school to gain university entrance.[5] Miller graduated from the University of Melbourne in English and History in 1965.[1] In 1975 he published his first short story, 'Comrade Pawel' in Meanjin Quarterly.[6] In 1980 he was a co-founder of the Anthill Theatre and a founding member of the Melbourne Writers' Theatre.[7] Miller taught writing courses at Holmesglen TAFE and La Trobe University between 1986 and 1997.[1] Miller has written full-time since 1998. In this time he has written seven of his eleven published novels and his work has received wide critical acclaim.[1]

Alex Miller lives in country Victoria with his wife Stephanie.[1] The Ancestor Game was re-published by Allen & Unwin in 2016 as a celebratory edition to mark 25 years since its publication and to honour the author on his 80th birthday.[8]


Miller's first novel, Watching the Climbers on the Mountain, was published in 1988 and republished by Allen & Unwin in 2012.[9] Major national and international recognition came with the publication of The Ancestor Game, his third novel and the winner of both the Miles Franklin Award and overall winner of the Commonwealth Writers' Prize in 1993. Since then Miller has published on average a major novel every two years, his tenth being Autumn Laing published in 2011.[10] The Melbourne critic Peter Craven, writing in The Australian on 14 July 2012, describes Autumn Laing as "superb" and says of it, "it is the novel that is liable to burn brightest in the whole of his oeuvre." Professor Brenda Walker suggests that 'Alex Miller may be Australia's greatest living writer'.[11]

Robert Dixon, Professor of Australian Literature at Sydney University writes that Miller's 'novels are by and large accessible to the general reading public yet manifestly of high literary seriousness - substantial, technically masterly and assured, intricately interconnected, and of great imaginative, intellectual and ethical weight'. The Novels of Alex Miller,[12] edited and with an introduction by Robert Dixon was published in 2012 following a two-day Symposium at the University of Sydney in 2011 as a major critical study devoted to Miller’s works.[13] In 2014 Robert Dixon published the first sole-authored critical survey of the respected author's eleven novels. Robert Dixon's Alex Miller: the ruin of time is the first of the Sydney Studies in Australian Literature series [7]

Miller's novel Autumn Laing was inspired by his lifelong interest in art and is loosely based on the relationship between Sidney Nolan and Sunday Reed.[14]

Coal Creek, published in 2013 by Allen & Unwin won the 2014 Victorian Premier's Literary Award.[15]

In 2015 Alex Miller published a collection of short stories and essays drawn from forty years of writing, The Simplest Words A Storyteller's Journey. Peter Pierce describes this collection as 'a rich, generous compilation that enticingly refracts our perceptions of one of Australia's finest novelists'.[16]

The Passage of Love, published by Allen & Unwin in 2017, is Alex Miller's most recent novel. [8].


Miller is a recipient of the Centenary Medal,[19] and in 2008 the Manning Clark Medal for "An outstanding contribution to Australian cultural life."[20] Miller is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities.[21]




Major short essays and short storiesEdit

  • 'Comrade Pawel', 1975, Meanjin Quarterly, No 1, Vol 34.
  • 'How to Kill Wild Horses', 1976, Quadrant, No 103, Vol XX, No 2.
  • 'The Wine Merchant of Aarhus', 1993, Kunapipi, Vol XV, No 3.
  • 'Inside Buckingham Palace', 1994, Brick, No 48.
  • 'Impressions of China', 1996, Meridian, Vol 15, No 1.
  • 'The Last Sister of Charity', 2000, The Age, 18 Nov.
  • 'Chasing My Tale, 2003, Kunapipi, Vol XV, No 3.
  • 'The Black Mirror', 2006, Art & Australia, Vol 43, No 3.
  • 'Written in Our Hearts, 2006, Thinking about Truth in Fiction and History', The Australian, 16–17 Dec.
  • 'Caught Behind My Imagination', 2006, The Age, Summer Age, Friday 29 Dec.
  • 'Salem Lodge,' 2008, Meanjin Quarterly, Vol 67, No 3.
  • 'The Artist to Himself', 2008, Rick Amor: A Single Mind, Heide Museum of Modern Art, Australia.
  • 'John Masefield's Attic', 2009, Closing Address to The Flight of the Mind, Conference National Library of Australia, 25 Oct.
  • 'The End', 2009, Cotter, J and Williams M, (Eds), Readings and Writings, Forty Years in Books, Readings, Australia.
  • 'The Circle of His Art', 2011, Skovron, A, Gaita, R, and Miller, A, Singing for All He's Worth, Essays in Honour of Jacob G Rosenberg, Picador, Australia.[22]
  • 'Ringroad', Sonya Hartnett, Ed, 2012, The Best Australian Short Stories, Black Inc.
  • 'Asylum: A Secure Place of Refuge', 2013, Rosie Scott and Tom Keneally, Eds, A Country Too Far, Viking, Australia.
  • 'The Rule of The First Prelude', 2015, Alex Miller, The Simplest Words, Allen & Unwin, Australia.


  • Kitty Howard (1978), Melbourne Theatre Company
  • Exiles (1981), Anthill Theatre


  • Morag Fraser, 2011, 'A Space of Its Own Creation, Alex Miller's Indispensable New Novel', "Australian Book Review", [9], accessed 1 July 2013.
  • Jem Poster, 2010, 'Lovesong by Alex Miller', "The Guardian", [10], accessed 1 July 2013.
  • Perry Middlemiss, 2010, 'Combined Reviews: Lovesong by Alex Miller, "Matilda" [11], accessed 1 July 2013.
  • Koval, Romona (19 November 2007). "Transcript of Radio Interview: Alex Miller's Landscape of Farewell". The Book Show, ABC Radio National.
  • Geordie Williamson, 'Lovesong', 2009, The Monthly, [12], accessed November 2012.
  • Reviews of Alex Miller's novels, [13] accessed 1 July 2013.
  • Geordie Williamson, 'Alex Miller's 'Coal Creek', September 2003, "The Monthly", [14], accessed November 2013.
  • Brian Matthews, 'Hanging on the Cross, Alex Miller's Journey of the Imagination', October 2013, "Australian Book Review", [15], accessed November 2013.
  • Anthony Lynch, "Real Men Roll Their Own", "Coal Creek" by Alex Miller, 14 March 2014, Sydney Review of Books, [16], accessed 11 August 2014.
  • Dimitri Nasrullah, 'Coal Creek by Alex Miller: review', 17 July 2014, "The Toronto Star", [17], accessed 11 August 2014.
  • Brenda Walker, 'Brenda Walker Reviews 'The Simplest Words', March 2016, no 379, "Australian Book Review",[23] accessed 30 December 2016.


  • Jonathan Pearlman, 'Australia's treatment of refugees is 'cruel and mean-spirited', The Telegraph, 26 December 2013,[18], accessed January 2014.
  • Oliver Milman, 'Novelist Alex Miller attacks Australia's 'cruel and inhumane' refugee treatment', The Guardian, 27 December 2013, [19], accessed January 2014.
  • Jane Sullivan, 'Interview: Alex Miller', The Sydney Morning Herald, 5 October 2013, [20], accessed January 2014.

Critical works on Alex MillerEdit

  • Robert Dixon, Ed, 2012, The Novels of Alex Miller, An Introduction, Allen & Unwin, Sydney. [21]
  • Robert Dixon, 2014, Alex Miller: the ruin of time, Sydney University Press, Sydney. [22]
  • Nicholas Birns, 2015, 'Failing to Be Separate: Race, Land, Concern', in Contemporary Australian Literature, Sydney Studies in Australian Literature, Sydney University Press, pp 121–155. [23]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Dixon, R, (Ed), 2012, 'The Novels of Alex Miller, An Introduction', Allen & Unwin, Sydney.
  2. ^ "Archived item". Archived from the original on 10 May 2013. Retrieved 1 July 2013.
  3. ^ [1]
  4. ^ Miller, A, 'Once Upon A Life', The Observer, Magazine, 26 Sept, 2010, pp 12-13
  5. ^ Miller, A, On Writing 'Landscape of Farewell'.
  6. ^ "Archived item". Archived from the original on 17 July 2012. Retrieved 24 September 2012.
  7. ^ "Reference Number: MS 318 Guide to the Papers of Alex Miller". Academy Library, UNSW@ADFA. Archived from the original on 20 November 2008. Retrieved 5 December 2008.
  8. ^ Stephen Romei, 'Stack of Pages on the Floor Have a Story to Tell, 27 Dec, 2016
  9. ^ Allen and Unwin [2]. Retrieved November 2012
  10. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 29 October 2013. Retrieved 3 June 2013.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  11. ^ Walker, Brenda, 2012 in Dixon, Robert, (Ed), 2012, 'The Novels of Alex Miller, An Introduction', Allen & Unwin, Sydney, p 42.
  12. ^ Allen and Unwin [3]. Retrieved 30 November 2012
  13. ^ Dixon, Robert, 2011, University of Sydney [4]
  14. ^ Stephens, Andrew (24 September 2011). "Leave it to Autumn", The Age. Retrieved 30 November 2012.
  15. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 12 January 2014. Retrieved 22 November 2013.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  16. ^ Pierce, Peter (2 December 2015). [5], The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 29 January 2016.
  17. ^ a b
  18. ^ Jason Steger (28 January 2014). "Liquid Nitrogen poet Jennifer Maiden wins Australia's richest literature prize". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 28 January 2014.
  19. ^
  20. ^ The Manning Clark Prize "Archived item". Archived from the original on 27 May 2013. Retrieved 31 May 2013.. Accessed November 2012.
  21. ^ Australian Academy of the Humanities [6] Archived 14 May 2013 at the Wayback Machine. Accessed November 2012
  22. ^[permanent dead link]
  23. ^

External linksEdit