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Wake In Fright

Wake In Fright

Text Classics

Kenneth Cook

Introduction by Peter Temple

The controller stood back.
‘Right,’ he said. ‘Spin 

The man flipped the piece of wood and the coins spun up into the air above his head and dropped down on to the carpet.
There was silence.

Wake in Fright tells the tale of John Grant’s journey into an alcoholic, sexual and spiritual nightmare. It is the original and the greatest outback horror story. Bundanyabba and its citizens will forever haunt its readers.

Wake in Fright was made into a film in 1971, arguably the greatest film ever made in Australia. It starred Donald Pleasence, Chips Rafferty and Jack Thompson in his first screen role. Lost for many years, the restored film was re-released to acclaim in 2009.


Listen to Raffaele Caputo interview Ted Kotcheff for Senses of Cinema here.
David Wenham talks about Channel 10’s miniseries version


Watch clips from the 1971 film production of Wake In Fright on AustralianScreen.
2ser Final Draft Book Club
Watch the trailer for the 2017 TV version



Kenneth Cook
About the Author

Kenneth Cook was born in Sydney. Wake In Fright, which drew on his time as a journalist in Broken Hill, was first published in 1961 when Cook was 32. It was published in England and America, translated into several languages, and was a prescribed text in schools. Cook wrote twenty-two books in a variety of genres, and was well known in film...

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Text publication date:
26 April 2012
First published:
AU Price:
NZ Price:
gambling, alcoholism, isolation
Reading age:
15 +
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Praise for Kenneth Cook
andWake In Fright

Wake in Fright deserves its status as a modern classic. Cook’s prose is masterful and the story is gripping from the first page to the last.’

‘A classic novel which became a classic film. The Outback without the sentimental bulldust. Australia without the sugar coating.’

Wake in Fright is a classic of the ugly side of Menzies’ Australia, its brutality, its drunkenness, its anxiety to crush all sensibility. All of this is harrowingly reacorded —the destruction of a young soul fresh to Australia—in Kenneth Cook’s remarkable novel.’

‘A true dark classic of Australian literature.’

‘A chilling outback horror and an Australian classic.’

Other editions ofWake In Fright
  • Wake In Fright
    ISBN: 9781925498820
    28 August 2017
  • Wake In Fright
    ISBN: 9781925410921
    28 August 2017
    Buy ebook
  • Wake In Fright
    ISBN: 9781921921780
    26 April 2012
    Buy ebook
Other Titles byKenneth Cook