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Christina Stead
, 1981

by Jacqueline Mitelman

gelatin silver photograph

Christina Stead (1902-1983) is regarded as one of Australia's finest novelists. Stead left Sydney for London in 1928, seeking, like her heroine Teresa in For Love Alone (1944), to escape what was then the stifling parochialism of Australia. In London she married the Marxist economist and writer William J. Blake, and embarked on a successful literary career with the publication in 1934 of Seven Poor Men of Sydney and The Salzburg Tales. Moving between Europe and the USA, Stead produced a number of works including the highly regarded The Man Who Loved Children (1940), a largely autobiographical study of a family dominated by an overbearing and narcissistic father. While Stead was recognised internationally, it was not until the 1970s that Australians embraced her writing. In 1974 she returned to live in Australia and received the Patrick White Award for literature.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Purchased 1999
Accession number: 1999.6