Patrick White became the first Australian to win the Nobel Prize for literature, The Canberra Times reported on this day 46 years ago.
The Swedish Academy said White, author of Voss and The Tree of Man, had introduced a whole new continent into literature when they awarded the 510,000 kronor prize, which, accounting for inflation, is worth over $750,000 now.
The award is so far the only Nobel literature prize for an Australian and, at the time, was the first awarded to an English language writer in a decade.
By the following day, White, 61, had announced he would give away the prize money. "I shall not keep any of it," he said, "because there is nothing I really want."
He said the award was both very flattering and gratifying. "Everyone kept mentioning my name as being in contention so I suppose I expected to win it eventually," he said.
White said he believed a unique Australian style of writing was still evolving and a serious writer had to lead a disciplined life. "You have to shut yourself up and ration your social life. Of course, a lot of people then say you are a recluse but you are only doing what is necessary," he said.