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Study of Louis Nowra
, 2018

by Imants Tillers

synthetic polymer paint, gouache on 64 canvas boards ( nos. 108101 - 108164) (overall: 242.0 cm x 242.0 cm)

Louis Nowra (b. 1950), writer, grew up in dire family circumstances on a housing commission estate in Melbourne. Through his uncle, who was a stage manager for JC Williamson, he developed an interest in theatre. In 1973, having abandoned his literary studies at La Trobe University, he began his career as a playwright with several pieces for the avant- garde Melbourne theatre company La Mama. In the mid-70s he changed his name and moved to Sydney, where John Bell directed his play Inner Voices at the Nimrod Theatre in 1977, and Rex Cramphorn his Visions in a converted cinema near Hyde Park in 1978. Over the 1980s he was resident dramatist with the State Theatre Company of South Australia, wrote The Golden Age(1985), and adapted Xavier Herbert’s Capricornia for the Belvoir Theatre (1988). His first semi-autobiographical play, Summer of the Aliens (1992), was followed immediately by his second, Così (which won the New South Wales Premier’s Literary Prize) and, much later, a third, This Much is True (2017). Along with dozens of plays including Radiance (1993) and the ‘Boyce trilogy’ of 2004-2006 he has brought forth the memoir The Twelfth of Never (2000), which won the Courier-Mail Book of the Year Award, and the novel Ice (2009) which was shortlisted for the Miles Franklin Award. He was a member of the writing team for the acclaimed SBS TV series, First Australians, which took out several major writing awards in 2009. His non-fiction writing includes the long essay Bad Dreaming (2007), Kings Cross: A biography (2013) and Woolloomooloo: A biography (2017).

Collection: National Portrait Gallery, Canberra
Commissioned with funds provided by Tim Bednall, Jillian Broadbent AC, John Kaldor AO and Naomi Milgrom AO 2018
Accession number: 2018.46.a-lll