Sydney PEN is saddened to hear of the death of acclaimed writer Frank Moorhouse, a long time supporter of PEN and, since 2005, a member of our Distinguished Writers’ group. As Angelo Loukakis, a member of the Australian Society of Authors and former committee member of Sydney PEN, says, “Over the past half century and more, few writers in this country have mattered as much as Frank. He mattered to the many thousands of readers who understood and enjoyed his writing – and he also mattered to other writers who, while they appreciated his work, also learned from him. As a reader I read pretty much everything he wrote, and was certainly also among those writers who took him as a teacher. “
Frank Moorhouse had been a chairman and a director and one of the founding group of the Australia Copyright Agency (CAL), which was set up by publishers and authors to coordinate the use of copyright and which now distributes millions of dollars annually to Australian writers. And he had been a president of the Australian Society of Authors and member of the Australian Press Council. He was also an organiser for the Australian Journalists’ Association, part of the Media Entertainment Arts Alliance.
There has been an outpouring of grief on social media including this post from writer Bernard Cohen who says, “Frank was large on reading lists for us 1980s undergrads, and his resonant linked stories (which he termed discontinuous narrative) and later novels taught us, with both sharp eye and compassion, how to set works across a milieu. Frank was also very generous to me when I was a starting out baby writer: meeting, reading work and writing supporting letters.”
Other messages were from Mandy Beaumont, Jane Messer, Robert Adamson, Larry Buttrose, Carmel Bird, Alison Gibbs, Tess Brady, Patti Miller and Caroline Overington, to name a few.
Frank Moorhouse will be missed for his great creative spirit, his passion and advocacy, humour, his sense of personal style and his generosity.