- 3 August 1858
Mudgee, New South Wales, Australia
- 3 April 1922
- Alternative Names
- Willis, William Nicholas (Birth name)
'Bree Narran' is generally understood to be the pseudonym of the Australian pastoralist, politician and newspaper proprietor William Nicholas Willis, though one biographer has suggested that works published in this name were by his son (also William Nicholas).
Willis senior was born at Mudgee, NSW, later moving to Sydney with his family where he was forced seek paid employment from an early age. He went on to acquire the Central Australian and Bourke Telegraph, and develop some successful pastoral interests. He joined Parliament, winning the seat of Bourke in 1887, and then Barwon in 1894. With George McNair he founded the popular journal Truth in 1890. Following some shady land deals he left the country and was extradited to face criminal charges in Sydney but escaped conviction. In 1909 he left for London, where he established the Anglo-Eastern Publishing Company and developed an association with the Camden Publishing Company. He wrote more than twenty novels between 1910 and 1923, many of them racy romances, which are reported to have sold more than three million copies.