Peter Cowan (1914-2002) was the grandson of Australia's first female parliamentarian, Edith Dircksey Cowan. After graduating from the University of Western Australia, he began writing the short stories, novels and biographies that established him as an Australian writer of note. His novel The Color of the Sky won the Western Australian Premier’s Book Award for Fiction in 1986, and in 1992 he won the Patrick White Award. A Senior Tutor at UWA for many years, Peter Cowan was also co-editor of the literary journal Westerly. He was named one of Western Australia’s Living Treasures in 1999.
The Special Collections in the University Library include Peter Cowan's Australiana book collection (about 3,000) and his papers (MS0117).