Winner of the Miles Franklin Award in 1971.
On the shores of Botany Bay lies an oil refinery where workers are free to come and go. But they are also part of an unrelenting, alienating economy from which there is no escape. In the first of his three Miles Franklin Award-winning novels, originally published in 1971, David Ireland offers a fiercely brilliant comic portrait of Australia in the grip of a dehumanising labour system.
This edition of The Unknown Industrial Prisoner comes with an introduction by Peter Pierce.
David Ireland was born in 1927 on a kitchen table in Lakemba in south-western Sydney. He lived in many places and worked at many jobs, including greenskeeper, factory hand, and for an extended period in an oil refinery, before he became a full-time writer. Ireland started out writing poetry and drama but then turned to fiction. His first novel, The Chantic Bird, was published in 1968. In the next decade he published five further novels, three of which won the Miles Franklin Award: The Unknown Industrial Prisoner, The Glass Canoe and A Woman of the Future. David Ireland was made a member of the Order of Australia in 1981. In 1985 he received the Australian Literature Society Gold Medal for his novel Archimedes and the Seagull.
'A harsh and remarkable work...it will leave you shaken mildly or terribly according to your life experience.' National Times
'When I think of my favourite Australian novels, two 1970s works by David Ireland are near the top of the list: The Unknown Industrial Prisoner and The Glass Canoe.' Stephen Romei