Bestselling Australian novelist Bryce Courtenay passed away at 11:30pm on Thursday 22 November in Canberra. Earlier this year, he posted the following video addressed to his readers.
His publisher Penguin Australia has released a statement following his death.
Born in Johannesburg, Courtenay often spoken of his youth in South Africa as being difficult. He spent time in orphanages, reform schools and – as a teenager – working in mines. He said he was lucky to come under the influence of a particular teacher who taught him to love reading and helped him pursue a scholarship in a better school. This same teacher and childhood would later prove the inspiration for his debut (and most famous) novel The Power of One, published in 1989 at the age of 55.
Since then, he has published 20 novels as well as a non-fiction book, April Fool's Day, a personal account of his son Damon's battle with the AIDS virus he contracted during a routine blood transfusion to treat his haemophilia.
Courtenay is one of Australia's most successful and beloved authors. Our deepest condolences to his friends and family.