Born in South Africa, Bryce spent his early childhood years in a small town in the heart of the Lebombo mountains. At the age of five he was sent to a boarding school where he learned to box to stay alive.
He won a scholarship to a prestigious boy’s school and went to a university in England where he studied journalism. Bryce came to Australia because he was banned from returning to his own country, because he had started a weekend school for Africans in the hall of the prestigious boy’s school he attended.
Bryce arrived in Australia in 1958 becoming an Australian citizen the following year. He has lived all his Australian life in Sydney and, until he started writing fiction at the age of 55, made his career in advertising working as a copywriter and creative director.
Bryce Courtenay was one of Australia’s greatest success stories. An internationally-acclaimed best-selling author and business man, he was a story teller of the highest order. He entered advertising and over a career spanning thirty four years was the Creative Director of McCann Erickson, J.Walter Thompson & George Patterson Advertising. During this period he received many awards both in Australia and overseas.
He was best known as Australia’s top selling novelist with titles such as The Power of One, which has been translated into eleven languages and is the subject of a major movie of the same name. Bryce has written over 20 novels, including April Fool’s Day, The Potato Factory, The Family Frying Pan, Jessica, Solomon’s Song, Smoky Joe’s Café, Four Fires, Matthew Flinders’ Cat with the latest being Fishing for Stars.
In 1995, he was appointed a Member of the Order of Australia in recognition of service to advertising and marketing to the community and as an author, and in 2005 was awarded the honorary degree of Doctor of Letters (honoris causa) from the University of Newcastle.