Tasmanian Writers' Centre Incorporated
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BARNEY ROBERTS was born Jan 1920. Including five years in the AIF, four of those as a POW in Europe, Barney Roberts has lived the remainder of his eighty-one years in Flowerdale. He has had ten books published. The first, a history of Flowerdale to 1963. Then a book of poetry, The Phantom Boy published 1976 by Robin Books - sold 2000 copies - (Roberts had not had any poems published previously). Other books of poetry published include Stones in the Cephissus: Melaleuca Press 1979, and Gone Bush with Horrie and Me: Shoestring Press UK 1998.
In 1980 his novel The Penalty of Adam was published hard-cover & paperback by Neptune Press. His war memoirs A Kind of Cattle (published 1985 hard-cover by Australian War Memorial and paperback by Collins UK & Australia 1987). It was awarded the New South Wales Premier's Literary Award - Special Peace Prize International Year of Peace 1986. Where's Morning Gone, stories of his early life, was published paperback by McPhee/Gribble Penguin 1987 - and Australian Large Print 1989. It won the Tasmanian Premier's Bicentennial Literary Award for the best book published by a Tasmanian author in the previous three years. His book of short stories Tales I carry with me was published by McPhee/Gribble Penguin 1988. He won the Rolf Boldrewood Award for short stories and has won or been placed in many competitions for both poetry & short stories. Poems, short stories or essays have been published also in the USA, NZ, Austria and Singapore. His poems and short stories have been included in many anthologies.
Roberts gave the James McAuley Memorial Lecture: The Poetry of Earth 1989. It was published by the University of Tasmania - The Annual Tasmanian Peace Trust Lecture: Gods and Neighbours delivered by him was published in 1992. He has taken part in many readings and literary seminars in Australia, including Brisbane, Sydney and Hobart. Three of his books have been produced on cassette for Hear a Book here and in NZ.
bank clerk before the war, he has since farmed on his property in Flowerdale.
As well as writing he does casual work on the farm: gardening, cutting
firewood for three households from his beautiful natural forest. His wife
died in 1999 after 52 years of marriage.
Quotes: At a Special POW 50th Anniversary Commemorative Service at The Australian War Memorial on the 15th Feb 1995, the Hon PJ Keating MP (Speech Copy 019.P.03.) said:
"We know from accounts like those of Barney Roberts and Weary Dunlop that paramount among the sustaining values of Australian POWs were those indefinable bonds which we call mateship."
In Patrick White a Tribute Ray Willbank says (quote): "He (Patrick White) spoke of Tasmanian farmer-poet Barney Roberts who had been captured during the Second World War and how much he liked his poetry."
Helen Garner (Sydney Morning Herald - Favourite Books) "I read plenty of British prisoner of war books as a teenager A Kind of Cattle has humour, flexibility, sweetness of tone that makes the older ones seem lockjawed."
Peter Charlton (Brisbane Courier Mail): "(A Kind of Cattle) is a superbly written story, full of vivid description and lyrical literary prose. - (it) deserves to stand as literature alone. (It) deserves to become an enduring part of Australian literature."
David Evans (Sydney Mirror): "A Kind of Cattle
another masterly classic of the genre."
TR Garnett (The Age) - Where's Morning Gone?: "If you want to understand why farmers cling to their land read this book. It deserves a world-wide readership."
Derek Whitlock (Sydney Morning Herald): "Look out for this modest little masterpiece (Where's Morning Gone?). For those who can learn and listen it has much to tell."
Bob Millington (The Age) - Tales I carry with me. S/S " at around 55 cents a story. What a bargain. Roberts is a lovely yarn spinner."
Nicholas Jose (Adelaide Review) - Where's Morning Gone?: "Circumscribed in style and content, written with delicacy, Roberts' stories suggest a patient assurance that sensitivity will survive crudeness Roberts earns our attention by the graciousness by which he shares his fortunate life."
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