Shirley Hazzard

Shirley Hazzard

Shirley Hazzard (born 30 January 1931) is an author of fiction and non-fiction. She was born in Australia, but holds citizenship in Great Britain and in the United States [cite web | url= | title=Shirley Hazzard with Sally Loane | work=702 ABC Sydney | accessdate=2006-12-15] .


Hazzard was born in Sydney, Australia, and attended Queenwood School for Girls in Mosman, but left in 1947 to travel through Southeast Asia with her parents. Her first landing was Hiroshima.Lawson (2004) p. 31] Her diplomat father took her to Hong Kong, and then she was "brutally removed by destiny"cited by Lawson (2004) p. 31] to New Zealand where her father was Australian Trade Commissioner. Hazzard says of her experience of the East that "I began to feel that people could enjoy life, should enjoy life".

Hazzard's early life "was a carbon copy of Helen Driscoll's" (the heroine of "The Great Fire"). Helen and her brother, the dying Benedict, are described as "wonderfully well-read, a poetic pair who live in literature." Poetry, she says, has always been the centre of her life.

She travelled to Italy in 1956, and worked for a year in Naples.

In 1963, Hazzard married the writer Francis Steegmuller, who died in 1994. As of 2006, she lives in New York City, frequently traveling to her Italian residence in Capri.


Hazzard is best known as the author of four novels and two collections of short fiction, a body of fiction as distinguished as it is small. Her first book, the story collection "Cliffs of Fall", was published in 1963. In 1977 her short story "A Long Story Short", originally published in "The New Yorker" on July 26, 1976, received an O. Henry Award.

"The Transit of Venus", her third novel, won the 1980 National Book Critics Circle Award [cite web | title=National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction | work=Powell's Books website | url= | accessdate=2006-05-22] . Her next novel, "The Great Fire", which took her twenty years to write, garnered the 2003 National Book Award and the 2004 Miles Franklin Award. It was also shortlisted for the Orange Prize for Fiction, longlisted for the 2004 Man Booker Prize, and named a 2003 Book of the Year by "The Economist" [cite web | url= | title=Words of love and war | work=The Economist | date=30 October 2003 | accessdate=2007-01-19] .

In addition to her fiction, Hazzard has written two books critical of the United Nations—"Defeat of an Ideal" (1973) and "Countenance of Truth" (1990)—and an account of her friendship with Graham Greene, "Greene on Capri: A Memoir" (2000).

In 1984 the Australian Broadcasting Corporation invited Hazzard to give the Boyer Lectures, a series of radio talks delivered each year by a prominent Australian. The talks were published the following year under the title "Coming of Age in Australia".



*"The Evening of the Holiday" (1966)
*"The Bay of Noon" (1970)
*"The Transit of Venus" (1980)
*"The Great Fire" (2003)

hort story collections

*"Cliffs of Fall and Other Stories" (1963)
*"People in Glass Houses" (1967)


*"Defeat of an Ideal: A Study of the Self-destruction of the United Nations" (1973)
*"Coming of Age in Australia" (1985)
*"Countenance of Truth: The United Nations and the Waldheim Case" (1990)
*"Greene on Capri: A Memoir" (2000)



*Lawson, Valerie (2004) "Hazzard country", in "The Sydney Morning Herald", Weekend Edition, June 19-20, 2004, p. 31

External links

* [ Shirley Hazzard's profile] in the [ British Council's database of contemporary writers in the UK and British Commonwealth] .
* [ Shirley Hazzard's profile] at Virago
* [ Judith Shulevitz's review] of "The Great Fire" (2003) at
* [ Charles Taylor's review] of "The Great Fire" (2003) at
* [ Defining Australia: History and Identity] The sixth program in special series by ABC Radio National which was broadcast on 6 April 2003 and based on an anthology of previous Boyer Lectures. A transcript of the broadcast, which features a brief excerpt from Hazzard's 1984 Boyer Lectures, "Coming of Age in Australia", is available.
* [ Shirley Hazzard with Sally Loane] A ten minute radio interview with Sally Loane for [ 702 ABC Sydney] broadcast on 16 June 2005. Audio is in RealMedia format; it requires RealPlayer.
* [ Shirley Hazzard on the Leonard Lopate Show] An eighteen minute radio interview with Leonard Lopate for [ WNYC, New York Public Radio,] broadcast on 17 November 2003.
* " [ Our Man on Capri.] " A letter from Yvonne Cloetta, Graham Greene's last companion, to The New York Review of Books in response to David Lodge's review of "Greene on Capri: A Memoir" (2000) and Shirley Hazzard's reply in "NYRB", Vol. 47, No. 19 (November 30, 2000).

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