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Patrick White

I developed the habit of writing novels behind a closed door, or at my uncle's, on the dining table.

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My father and mother were second cousins, though they did not meet till shortly before their marriage.

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In fact I enjoyed every minute of my life at King's, especially the discovery of French and German literature.

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I continued writing the bad plays which fortunately nobody would produce, just as no one did me the unkindness of publishing my early novels.

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Then about 1951 I began writing again, painfully, a novel I called in the beginning A Life Sentence on Earth, but which developed into The Tree of Man.

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Probably induced by the asthma, I started reading and writing early on, my literary efforts from the age of about nine running chiefly to poetry and plays.

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In spite of holidays when I was free to visit London theatres and explore the countryside, I spent four very miserable years as a colonial at an English school.

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Even if a university should turn out to be another version of a school, I had decided I could lose myself afterwards as an anonymous particle of the London I already loved.

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When I was rising eighteen I persuaded my parents to let me return to Australia and at least see whether I could adapt myself to life on the land before going up to Cambridge.

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As a result of the asthma I was sent to school in the country, and only visited Sydney for brief, violently asthmatic sojourns on my way to a house we owned in the Blue Mountains.

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Patrick White
Patrick White