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Rodney Hall OAM

b. 1935

Rodney Hall OAM (b. 1935), writer, came to Australia in 1947 and settled in Brisbane. After leaving school at 16 he gained some acting parts on stage and radio. Over the course of the 1960s he produced five volumes of poetry and wrote many scripts for the ABC. In 1967, in which year he began an eleven-year term as poetry editor of The Australian, he took up a Creative Arts Fellowship at the ANU. In 1971 he graduated from the University of Queensland. His first novel, The Ship on the Coin, was published in 1972; the following year he won the Grace Leven Poetry Prize. Over the 1970s and 1980s he published more poetry and a book about artist Andrew Sibley; he edited a number of verse anthologies, and several volumes of poems by Michael Dransfield. From 1981 he concentrated on novels, winning the Miles Franklin Award in 1982 with his third, Just Relations, the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award with Captivity Captive (1988), and the Miles Franklin again with The Grisly Wife in 1994. That year he ended a three-year term as Chairman of the Australia Council. His novel The day we had Hitler home was shortlisted for the Miles Franklin Award in 2001. An accomplished recorder player, he tutored at the Canberra School of Music from 1978 to 1983 and was at one time artistic director of the Four Winds Festival, near Bermagui, where he has lived since the late 1970s. Hall collaborated with David Moore on Image of a Nation 1850-1950 (1989) and Sydney Harbour (1993). In 2003, Hall was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Literature by the University of Queensland in recognition of his services to Australian writing. He published a memoir titled Popeye never told you: childhood memories of the war in 2010.

Updated 2018