Andrew McGahan was born in Dalby, Queensland, and now lives in Victoria. His first novel Praise (1992) won The Australian/Vogel Literary Award and the regional prize for best first book in the Commonwealth Writers' Prize. His second novel was the prequel 1988 (1995), and his third novel Last Drinks (2000) was shortlisted for multiple awards, including The Age Book of the Year and the Courier Mail Book of the Year, and won a Ned Kelly award for crime writing. In 2004, The White Earth was published and won the Miles Franklin Literary Award, the Commonwealth Writers' Prize for the South East Asia and South Pacific region, The Age Book of the Year (Fiction) and the Courier Mail Book of the Year Award. It was also shortlisted for the Queensland Premier's Literary Awards. McGahan's fifth novel, Underground, was published in 2006 and was shortlisted in the Queensland Premier's Prize for fiction and for the Aurealis Award. In 2009, Wonders of a Godless World was published to acclaim and won the Aurealis Award. McGahan's award-winning writing also includes stage plays and the screenplay for the movie version of Praise. In 2011, McGahan launched his children's book series, the Ship Kings. The Coming of the Whirlpool was shortlisted for the Children's Book Council of Australia Book of the Year award - older readers, for the Indie Awards, for the WA Premier's Book Award, was a finalist in the Aurealis Awards and was longlisted for the Gold Inky for an Australian YA book. The second novel in the Ship King series - Voyage of the Unquiet Ice was published in 2012.
Winner of the 1992 Vogel Award for best Australian first novel, this tale of 20-something disassociation compares favorably to American fiction of the same genre. As the story begins, narrator Gordon Buchanan quits his job as a beer-stacker at a drive-through bottle shop in Brisbane. He and his live-in girlfriend Cynthia LaMonde, a waitress, inhabit a world of casual sex, plentiful drugs and partying till dawn--pastimes that don't really give Gordon much pleasure, plagued as he is by a sense of being unfulfilled. Love affairs gone bad and fantasies undercut by reality are the norm for a generation that stops doing something the moment it becomes work, that wants to win without competing because making an effort would render victory meaningless. McGahan writes about this alienated milieu with dark honesty in the spare prose style that has become de rigueur for tales of post-adolescent discontent. His novel escapes the flatness of some of its American cousins because the narrator has no pretensions, very little money and an apparent inability to get any pleasure or release from sex. A good first novel with an honest ending. ( May )