Morris West

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Morris Langlo West (born April 26, 1916 in St. Kilda , Australia , † October 9, 1999 in Clareville ) was an Australian writer . Until around 1960 he also published under the pseudonyms Julian Morris and Michael East .


Under the influence of his teachers at Christian Brothers' College in East St Kilda , he entered the order of the Christian Brothers at the age of 14 . After studying at the University of Melbourne , which he graduated in 1937, he taught modern languages ​​and mathematics at the monastery schools of the Order in New South Wales . He made Temporary Vows and left the Order in 1942 when he was due to take Perpetual Vows .

In 1939, Morris was drafted into the army. During the Second World War he was a lieutenant in the Australian Imperial Forces in the South Pacific. In 1943 he was discharged from the army and briefly secretary to former Australian Prime Minister Billy Hughes . During his army service he had written a book about his life in the monastery (Moon in my Pocket) , which he published in 1945 under the pseudonym Julian Morris.

From 1943 to 1953 he worked for Australian radio. He was also the director of his own recording and broadcasting company. After suffering a breakdown and being in hospital for a year, he sold his company and was only a writer. He published the volume of poetry The Illusionists (1955) and the two novels Gallows on the Sand (1955) and Kundu (1956), with the proceeds from which he was able to finance his travels.

He left Australia in 1955 and lived in Austria , Italy , England and the United States before returning to Australia in 1980.

In Sorrento , Italy , he heard about Don Mario Borelli , who was looking after children in the slums of Naples . On this subject was published in 1957 West's book Children of the Sun (German 1964 Die Kinder des Schattens ). Also in 1957, the novel The Big Story was published (in the USA under the title The Crooked Road , German 1966 The Hour of the Stranger ).

West then went to Rome as a correspondent for the Daily Mail for six months . There he collected material for his novel The Devil's Advocate , which he published in 1959 (German 1960 Des Teufels Advokat ). This was an international success and filmed as The Devil's Advocate in 1977.

Several of West's works, which mostly revolve around ethical-religious conflicts and politically explosive situations, as well as the role of the Catholic Church , were successfully filmed.

Morris West died of a heart attack at his desk in his home in Clareville, a seaside suburb to the north of Sydney. He was working on a fictional diary of Giordano Bruno covering the weeks leading up to his execution. The half-finished book The Last Confession was published posthumously in 2010 with a foreword by Thomas Keneally . The last paragraph read: "I can write no more today ... who knows to what nightmares I might wake" ("I can't continue writing today ... who knows what nightmares will wake me").


  • 1960 for The Devil's Advocate the National Brotherhood Award , the James Tait Black Memorial Prize and the Royal Society of Literature Heinemann Award
  • 1978 Dag Hammarskjold Prize
  • 1985 Member of the Order of Australia
  • 1997 Officer of the Order of Australia
  • 1997 Lloyd O'Neil Award

Honorary doctorates

  • 1969 Santa Clara University / California
  • 1982 Nercy College / New York
  • 1993 University of Western Sydney
  • 1995 Australian National University in Canberra



  • Moon in My Pocket (1945) (under the pseudonym Julian Morris)
  • Gallows on the Sand (1956) - German The Treasure of Doña Lucia (1979)
  • Kundu (1956) -
  • The Big Story (1957) - German The Hour of the Stranger (1966)
  • Second Victory / Backlash (1958) - German The second victory
  • McCreary Moves In (1958) (under the pseudonym Michael East) - German The Concubine
  • The Devil's Advocate (1959) - German Des Teufels Advokat
  • The Naked Country (1960) (under the pseudonym Michael East) - dt. Nacktes Land
  • Daughter of Silence (1961) - German daughter of silence
  • The Shoes of the Fisherman (1963) - In the shoes of the fisherman
  • The Ambassador (1965) - German The Ambassador
  • The Tower of Babel (1968) - German The Tower of Babel
  • Summer of the Red Wolf (1971) - German Der Rote Wolf
  • The Salamander (1973) - German Der Salamander ( No. 1 on the Spiegel bestseller list from February 25 to June 30, 1974 )
  • Harlequin (1974) - German Harlequin ( No. 1 on the Spiegel bestseller list from March 10 to March 30, 1975 )
  • The Navigator (1976) - German island of sailors
  • Proteus (1979) - German Proteus
  • The Clowns of God (1981) - eng. The jugglers of God
  • The World is Made of Glass (1983) - In a world of glass
  • Cassidy (1986) - German Cassidy
  • Masterclass (1988)
    • German by Dietlind Kaiser: The masterpiece , novel. ECON Verlag, Düsseldorf 1989, ISBN 3-430-19599-3 .
  • Lazarus (1990) - German Lazarus (1990)
  • The Ringmaster (1991) - German The Fox Woman (1992)
  • The Lovers (1993) - German Die Lovers (1994)
  • Vanishing Point (1996) - German The Disappeared (1997)
  • Eminence (1998), ISBN 0-7322-6704-8 - German Eminence (1998)
  • The Last Confession (2000, published posthumously ), ISBN 0-7322-6595-9


  • The Mask of Marius Melville (1945)
  • The Prince of Peace
  • Trumpets in the Dawn
  • Genesis in Juddsville
  • The Illusionists (1955)
  • The Devil's Advocate (1961)
  • Daughter of Silence (1962)
  • The Heretic (1969)
  • The World is Made of Glass (1982)


  • Children of the Sun - The Slum Dwellers of Naples (1957)
  • Scandal in the Assembly: A Bill of Complaints and a Proposal for Reform on the Matrimonial Laws and Tribunals of the Roman Catholic Church , Pan Macmillan, ISBN 0-330-02592-9
  • A View from the Ridge: The Testimony of a Twentieth-Century Pilgrim . 1996, Sydney: HarperCollins. ISBN 0-7322-5757-3
  • Images & Inscriptions, selected and arranged by Beryl Barraclough , 1997, Sydney: HarperCollins. ISBN 0-7322-5827-8

Film adaptations

Web links