Bryce Courtenay AM
14th August 1933 – 22nd November 2012
Bryce Courtenay wrote 21 books in 23 years and at the time of his death he was Australia’s biggest selling writer.
Bryce believed that good writing included ‘a bellyful of laughs and a bucketful of tears’, and in some ways that phrase reflected the story of his own life.
Born in South Africa to Maude Greer he only found out the name of his father when he was a teenager having also endured time in an orphanage. This experience provided much of the material for his first novel ‘The Power of One’ published in 1989 and which went on to become an international best seller. He managed to move on from this difficult start in life by winning a scholarship to the ‘posh’ King Edward V11 School in Johannesburg.
During the tensions of the apartheid regime in he felt compelled to leave South Africa and ended up in London where he met his first wife Benita Solomon. Arriving in Australia in the 1950s they went on to have three children, Brett, Adam and Damon. Bryce quickly embraced his new country and made a hugely successful career in advertising, winning countless industry awards.
Tragically in 1991 his son Damon, who was born with the blood condition haemophilia, died of medically acquired aids which later became the subject of a moving book titled ‘April Fool’s Day’.
For the rest of his life Bryce continued on with what he called his ‘second career’ as a full time writer. He was especially interested in the impact of war on Australia’s national psyche, and many novels brought Australian history to life. To this day millions of readers around the world continue to enjoy his extraordinary literary legacy.
Bryce was known as much for his philanthropy and generosity of spirit as he was for his writing. From the outset he found Professor John Rasko’s vision for gene cell medical research to be both visionary and an inspiration. He always felt privileged to be one of the first patron’s of ‘Cure the Future’ and delighted in listening to John’s news of the latest developments in his ongoing research.
Bryce’s second wife, Christine Gee, AM (a pioneer in adventure travel) shares Bryce’s passion for philanthropy, and continues to be a very proud supporter of ‘Cure the Future’.
This mosaic image of Bryce has been created using photos from the Cure The Future family album.
It is in loving memory – and to help remind us that we are all connected.