With the death of Randolph Stow on 29 May 2010, all of Australia is mourning the loss of a writer it never heard of and who it never read.
In an obituary published in the Sydney Morning Herald, critic Peter Craven has said, "Stow was truly one of the greatest writers who we have never read." Craven talked in detail about Stow's atmospheric writing (which he had never read) and his gift for contriving exciting plots (which he hadn't read either.) "Maybe one day," mused Craven hopefully, "I will be as little read as Stow is today." Craven's colleagues agreed.
Writers, public figures, and dignitaries have all paid tribute to Stow, who none of them have ever read, as a great and influential Australian, albeit one that few of them knew. A number of widely-circulated newspapers, including The Australian, The Age, and The West Australian, have performed a critical overview of Stow's most famous titles, while ABC's The Book Show plans to do dramatic reading from Stow's chapter headings and back-cover blurbs on the weekend.
Meanwhile, academics from universities have spoken about the lasting contribution of Stow's unread books to Australian literature. Professor John Warblung, Sydney University, is an expert on the works of Randolph Stow, having not read all of Stow's books, several times. His most recent work is the book, 'The Life and Letters of Randolph Stow', in which he concludes, 'Randolph Stow lived for 74 years and may or may not have used the letters A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L, M, N, O, P, Q, R, S, T, U, V, W, X and Z in his works. And possibly also Y.'
The nation joins tonight in mourning over the death of this widely loved, though largely unrecognised and unread, author, before going back to read the latest Dan Brown novel. Randolph Stow, whoever he was, will be sorely missed.
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