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Dorothy Porter

1954 – 2008

Dorothy Porter (1954-2008), poet and writer, grew up in Sydney and the Blue Mountains, graduated from the University of Sydney in 1975 and taught creative writing at the University of Technology, Sydney. Her first book of poetry, Little Hoodlum, was published in 1975; subsequent volumes included Bison (1979), The Night Parrot (1984) and Driving too Fast (1989). In the early 1990s she wrote two novels for young adults. Akhenaten, the first of the 'verse novels' for which Porter was particularly renowned, was published in 1992. The following year, she moved to Melbourne to live with the novelist Andrea Goldsmith, who was her partner for the rest of her life. Unusually, Porter managed to make a living from poetry. The Monkey's Mask (1994) won the Age Book of the Year for Poetry, the National Book Council Award for Poetry and the Braille Book of the Year; widely translated and published overseas, it was adapted for stage and radio and made into a film starring Kelly McGillis and Susie Porter. Subsequent verse novels, What a Piece of Work (1999) and Wild Surmise (2002) were both shortlisted for the Miles Franklin Award (in 2003 both Porter and Goldsmith were shortlisted - for books that each had dedicated to the other). Her last verse novel was El Dorado (2007). Having written two libretti, and lyrics for music by Paul Grabowsky, at the time of her death she was collaborating with Tim Finn on a rock opera. The Bee Hut was published posthumously in 2009, as was her essay On Passion; Goldsmith has selected a volume of her Love Poems (2010).

Updated 2018
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