Australian novelist and playwright
Born in St Kilda, Victoria, he trained for the priesthood but left before taking vows. After war service he published his first novel, Moon in My Pocket (1945, under the pseudonym "Julian Morris"), which dealt with the conflicts facing a Catholic novitiate. In 1955 he left Australia for Italy, where his fourth novel, Children of the Sun (1957), a tale of Neapolitan slum urchins, attracted attention. The Devil's Advocate (1959, James Tait Black Memorial Prize, filmed 1977) became an international bestseller, and his subsequent books were eagerly awaited. They include prize-winning novels such as The Shoes of the Fisherman (1963), Summer of the Red Wolf (1971), The Clowns of God (1981) and The Ringmaster (1991). Later works include The Lovers (1993), Vanishing Point (1996) and A View From the Ridge (1996). He dramatized several of his works, and refused to write his memoirs, declaring that his large body of writing was a "serial autobiography".