Wayne McLennan


Wayne McLennan grew up in Cessnock, New South Wales, and was a professional boxer and a bank teller, amongst other things.

He left Australia in 1978 and travelled extensively throughout the world, becoming a gold miner in Costa Rica and the skipper of a fishing boat in Nicaragua. By 2005 he was living in Amsterdam with his wife Carolijn Visser, also a writer.

In one of his many adventures (retold in his novel Rowing to Alaska, Granta, 2004) he rowed from Seattle to Alaska, a distance of 1,600 kilometres. He was rightly acclaimed around the world as a brilliant new voice; the book was a New York Times Notable Book in 2005.

What made this all the more special was that McLennan, well into his fifth decade, had never harboured literary ambitions and only began writing after prompting from his wife and boredom induced by snow-bound isolation in an Estonian winter.

His book Tent Boxing: An Australian Journey was published by Granta in 2007.


Disaster in Coal Town 1923

Fiction'AN HOUR EARLIER and it might have been four hundred men.''Does that make it any less filthy or cruel?'The men were already dead when the whistle blew. All of Coal Town heard its terrible wail: those working underground in...

A night at the fights

ReportageMY TAXI WOUND through the early evening traffic, moving like a snake through tall grass. Packed buses towered over us, lurching, belching out blue-black smoke. Lithe, colourful tuk-tuks, weighted down with passengers and goods, darted in and out, taking...


MemoirIF YA HEADING up north anyway, why don't ya try and get a job with the meat works up in Broome? Them buggers earn a fortune.'‘He won't get on without a ticket, Jack. It's all union in the slaughterhouses.'Jack...

My banker

ReportageMONEY ISN"T EVERYTHING!''Bloody nice when it just falls out of the sky, though.''You're still doing alright.''I won't starve. Only one thing, mate. I never appreciated how bloody good I had it.''People never do.''I will next time.''No y'won't.'The weather in...

Hunting with the boys

MemoirAS SOON AS we heard the growl, Hans released the safety on his rifle and, in the same motion, swung it from its cradled position across his chest and aimed toward the bushes. ‘Step back...slowly,' he cautioned. We took...

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