Perth, Australia


Judah Waten

Judah Leon Waten AM (29 July 1911 – 29 July 1985) was an Australian novelist who was at one time seen as the voice of Australian migrant writing.

Born in Odessa to a Russian-Jewish family, Judah Waten arrived in Western Australia in 1914.[1] He attended Christian Brothers' College, Perth and, moving to Melbourne in 1926, University High School, Melbourne. Between 1931 and 1933, he visited Europe, became engaged in left-wing political activities in England, and spent three months in Wormwood Scrubs Prison.

He wrote novels, short stories and a history of the Great Depression in Australia. His best-known work is a collection of autobiographical short stories, Alien Son, first published in 1952. He was a member of the Communist Party of Australia in the 1950s, travelling to the Soviet Union several times, once with Manning Clark, and remained left-leaning throughout his life. He was involved in the Realist Writers Group, International PEN, the Fellowship of Australian Writers and served on the Literature Board of the Australia Council.

In 1979 he was awarded membership of the Order of Australia,[2] and died in 1985 in Melbourne.

In 1985 he was posthumously awarded the Patrick White Award.



  1. Alien Son (1952)

  2. The Unbending (1954)

  3. Shares in Murder (1957)

  4. Time of Conflict (1961)

  5. Distant Land (1964)

  6. Season of Youth (1966)

  7. So Far No Further (1971)

  8. Scenes of Revolutionary Life


  1. The Depression Years, 1929-1939 (1971)


  1. From Odessa to Odessa: The journey of an Australian writer (1969)

  2. My two literary careers, essay

  3. Why I came home - naked - fifty years ago


  1. 1^ "Waten, Judah / Papers (National Library of Aus.) - Biographical Note". National Library of Australia. n.d. Retrieved 2007-11-09.

  2. 2^ It's an Honour: AM

Authority control

  1. VIAF: 61655638

  2. ISNI: 0000 0000 8387 490X

  3. SUDOC: 034457593

Categories: 1911 births1985 deathsAustralian communistsAustralian people of Russian-Jewish descentAustralian JewsUkrainian JewsRussian JewsAustralian memoiristsAustralian novelistsWriters from MelbourneMarxist writersPeople from OdessaPeople from Perth, Western AustraliaUniversity of Melbourne alumniWriters from Victoria (Australia)Imperial Russian emigrants to AustraliaMembers of the Order of AustraliaPeople educated at Christian Brothers' College, PerthPeople educated at University High School (Melbourne)Communist writers20th-century novelistsAustralian writer stubs