Michael Wilding Biography
(1942– ), Political Fictions, We Took Their Orders and Are Dead, Tabloid Story
Australian-based fiction writer, critic, and editor, born in Worcester, England, educated at Oxford University. He taught at the University of Sydney in 1967–8; he settled permanently in Australia in 1969, becoming Reader in English at the University of Sydney in 1972. Wilding has continued his work in English literature and in political culture, publishing Political Fictions (1980), and has also established himself as a significant voice in his adopted country. During the Vietnam War (1962–73) Wilding co-edited with David Malouf and others the anti-war poetry and prose collection We Took Their Orders and Are Dead (1971). As a writer, and as publisher of the radical magazine Tabloid Story (1972–5), he has links with Frank Moorhouse in both his Australian focus and his innovative structural and intertextual techniques. His fiction includes the short-story collections Aspects of the Dying Process (1972), The West Midland Underground (1975), and The Phallic Forest (1978), and the novels Living Together (1974), The Short Story Embassy (1975), and Pacific Highway (1982); in 1984 Reading the Signs appeared, and in 1985 The Paraguayan Experiment, a ‘documentary novel’ recreating William Lane's 1893 idealistic New Australia settlement in Paraguay. In his works, Wilding explores the parallels between the ways in which individuals and groups order their worlds, and authors shape their fiction. Further short stories are gathered in The Man of Slow Feeling (1985), Great Climate (1990), This Is For You (1994), and Book of the Reading (1994), while Under Saturn (1988) is a collection of four novellas. He is the editor of The Oxford Book of Australian Short Stories (1995). Recent cultural and literary criticism includes Dragon's Teeth: Literature in the English Revolution (1987) and Social Visions (1993).