The long-awaited memoir of the late Bryce Courtenay – Australia’s bestselling author – as told by his wife, Christine Courtenay.
Bryce Courtenay was a born storyteller. The success of his extraordinary debut The Power of One made publishing history, and in the years that followed Bryce continued to entertain and inspire thousands of devoted readers around the world with his sweeping epics and larger-than-life characters who embody the strength and triumph of the human condition.
What kind of man did it take to conjure these tales? What kind of life?
When Christine Courtenay began penning her own memoir during lockdown, she found herself increasingly drawn to the remarkable story of her late husband’s life and reflecting upon his astonishing literary legacy. From his humble beginnings in Africa to his dazzling success in advertising and as a bestselling author, Bryce’s extraordinary, rags-to-riches life story reads like one of his epic novels. It was a life marked by all the big themes – overcoming adversity, love, loss, hard-won success, fame and fortune, and holding tight to a dream.
In this telling Christine uncovers the events that shaped the man behind the stories – a man complex, driven and unfailingly positive, who never lost sight of his childhood dream to be a writer. Candid, intimate and insightful, Bryce Courtenay: Storyteller is a fascinating, loving tribute to the life and work of Australia’s most beloved and enigmatic writer.
Apparently one in three Australian households own a Bryce Courtenay book. Given that every school kid grew up reading his work, that impressive number is not hard to believe. He is one of this country’s literary legends, writing his first novel at fifty-two and delivering an impressive twenty-one books in twenty-three years. His debut, The Power of One, went on to sell over a million copies.
All of this and more is in this fascinating biography. Christine covers his life from his illegitimate birth in South Africa and challenging childhood, to the highs and lows of his fame and fortune, and everything in-between. Most impressive is the sensitivity she conveys when writing about his first marriage to Benita Solomon, their family years, and the heartbreaking loss of their son Damon in 1991.
Christine herself is a great storyteller, and her admiration and love for her late husband are evident, but she refrains from fictionalising events, admitting when there were gaps in her knowledge. Christine uses previously unpublished letters she discovered in 2020 to piece together more of Bryce’s life, as well as reflections from close friends, family and colleagues.
The result is a well-written, intimate and fascinating look into the life of one of this country’s most extraordinary authors. As with Bryce’s books, Bryce Courtenay: Storyteller deserves a place on every Australian bookshelves.