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Wrightson, Patricia

Entry updated 27 June 2022. Tagged: Author.

(1921-2010) Australian author, whose significant oeuvre of Young Adult fiction is mostly definable as fantasy [for extended entry on Patricia Wrightson see The Encyclopedia of Fantasy under links below], with tales like The Nargun and the Stars (1973) markedly innovative (from a perspective half a century on). They are particularly notable for their attempts unencroachingly to represent the native inhabitants of Australia, their all-encompassing Cosmological visions, their near destruction (see Eugenics; Imperialism; Race in SF) at the hands of an invading culture that promoted breeding programmes to eliminate the inferior – not unlike contemporary Canadian attempts to "civilize" its own predecessor cultures, though perhaps more nearly "successful". The Wirrun trilogy beginning with The Ice Is Coming (1977) further dramatizes these arguments.

After some early tales for younger readers, Wrightson began to be of sf interest for Down to Earth (1965), whose young protagonists find an Alien child in a bad part of Sydney, and must defend him against social workers while at the same time making possible his return to the stars. [JC]

Alice Patricia Furlonger Wrightson

born Lismore, New South Wales: 19 June 1921

died Lismore, New South Wales: 15 March 2010

works (highly selected)



  • The Ice Is Coming (Richmond, Victoria: Hutchinson of Australia, 1977) [Wirrun: hb/David Bergen]
  • The Dark Bright Water (Richmond, Victoria: Hutchinson of Australia, 1978) [Wirrun: hb/Martin White]
  • Behind the Wind (Richmond, Victoria: Hutchinson of Australia, 1981) [Wirrun: hb/Martin White]

individual titles


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