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Publisher Description

Patrick White's magnificent debut novel available for the first time in more than 70 years.

Originally published in 1939, Happy Valley is set in a small country town in the Snowy Mountains. 

Based on Patrick White’s own experiences in the early 1930s as a jackaroo at Bolaro, near Adaminaby in south-eastern New South Wales, Happy Valley paints a portrait of a community in a desolate landscape. It is a jagged and restless study of small-town and country life. 

White was twenty-seven when Happy Valley was published by George C. Harrop in London. This mesmerising first novel gives us a prolonged glimpse of literary genius in the making. It won the Australian Literature Society Gold Medal in 1941, but White did not allow the novel to be republished in English in his lifetime. Its appearance now in the Text Classics series, with an introduction by Peter Craven, is a major literary event.

Happy Valley is the missing piece in the extraordinary jigsaw of White’s work.

Patrick White was born in England in 1912 and taken to Australia, where his father owned a sheep farm, when he was six months old. He was educated in England and served in the RAF, before returning to Australia after the war. He was the first Australian to win the Nobel Prize for Literature, in 1973. He died in 1990.

Peter Craven is one of Australia’s best-known literary critics. He was a founding editor of Scripisi, Quarterly Essay and the Best of anthologies.


'Happy Valley is a book we need to rediscover. Gives us White a fledgling novelist, as fresh and wonderstruck and full of a desire to recreate the world as ever Australia was blessed with. It is a fitting thing and a fine one that in this centennial year of Patrick White’s birth it should find itself back in print.’ Peter Craven

Fiction & Literature
22 August
The Text Publishing Company
Text Publishing

Customer Reviews

SarahWerac ,

His first work

White’s first book, not his best - but Patrick White’s worst book is better than most authors’ best. Well worth reading now that ebooks have finally made it accessible.

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