This masterpiece of Australian fiction was written by Randolph Stow when he was just twenty-two. It won for him the coveted Miles Franklin Award and the Gold Medal of the Australian Literature society. A work of mesmerising power, against a background of black-white fear and violence, To the Islands journeys towards the strange country of one man's soul. Set in the desolate outback landscape of Australia's north-west, the novel tracks the last days of a worn-out Anglican missionary. Fleeing his mission after an agonising confrontation, he immerses himself in the wilderness, searching for the isalnds of death and mystery. 'To the Islands has acquired the status of an Australian classic. Half a century after it was written, its challenges remain central to the continuing quests of European Australians for psychic integration, and for reconciliation with indigenous Australians and with the land itself.' Anthony J. Hassall 'A novel of great originality and depth ...his writing swells with a dark power that makes it seem, in the true sense, inspired.' Encounter
Acknowledged as one of Australia's finest writers, Randolph Stow was born in Geraldton, Western Australia, in 1935. He graduated from the University of Western Australia and lectured in English at the Universities of Adelaide, Western Australia and Leeds. In addition to his writing, Randolph worked as a teacher and sometime anthropologist and for many years he lived in Sussex, England (his ancestral home). His works included novels, plays, poetry and children's books. His best-known novels include To the Islands (one of the first books published by Penguin in Australia, in 1963), Tourmaline and, what many regard as his finest work, The Merry-Go-Round in the Sea. He also wrote the hugely popular children's novel Midnight. Stow was awarded the Miles Franklin Award for To the Islands, and in 1979 he was awarded the Patrick White Award. Randolph Stow died in May 2010 at the age of seventy-four.