The Writer Alan D. Mickle: Serendipity, Vanity and Obscurity in an Australian Literary Career

Patrick Buckridge


This article examines the work of a largely forgotten literary intellectual, Alan D. Mickle (1883-1969). His career testifies to the possibility of living a long, active, varied and productive writing life entirely without institutional support, national recognition, or even much in the way of professional affirmation or encouragement beyond a very small circle of family and friends. In fifty years of writing, he produced a remarkable quantity, breadth and variety of literary work, including books of literary and philosophical essays, travel, autobiography, poetry, fiction, humour, fantasy, dramatic criticism, children’s literature, sporting memoirs and political commentary: thirty separate volumes, none of them sufficiently popular, even at the time of publication, to earn the writer a living or even give him a profile in Australia. His writings often have a startling freshness and independence, but very singularity that makes him interesting also makes him unusually resistant to categorization in terms of group affiliations and clearly defined literary and intellectual traditions.


Alan Mickle; the essay; diary; children's literature

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