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As the world became increasingly industrialised and the focus of the nation moved to its cities, Australia's writers moved away from pastoral tales. The present century eventually produced greater sophistication and diversity among writers. Probably the most important Australian writer of the early 20th cent. was Henry Handel Richardson (pseud. of Ethel Richardson Robertson), whose autobiographical trilogy, 'The Fortunes of Richard Mahoney' (1930), presents a compelling portrait of Australian life. Richardson´s reputation was matched at mid-century by Patrick White whose strong, somber novels, Australian in setting yet universal in theme, reveal the author´s ambivalence toward his native land; White received the Nobel Prize in 1973.
Other notable 20th-century novelists are Brian Penton, Leonard Mann, Christina Stead (only one of whose novels is actually set in Australia), Arthur William Upfield (1888–1964), John O´Grady, Morris West, C. J. Koch, Peter Carey, Thomas Keneally, and the aborigine Colin Johnson. After emigrating to Australia in 1950, the English novelist Nevil Shute subsequently produced novels with Australian settings and themes.