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'words are the daughters of the earth' Marion Halligan
, 2002

by Leeanne Crisp

9 watercolour and gouache on vellum (each: 24.5 cm x 29.5 cm)

Marion Halligan AM (b. 1940) is a novelist, short story writer, reviewer and essayist. Halligan’s third novel, Lovers’ Knots: A Hundred Year Novel (1992) won the Age Book of the Year Award and the Nita Kibble Award. Her novels since include The Fog Garden (2001), The Point (2003), The Apricot Colonel (2006), Murder on the Apricot Coast and Valley of Grace (2009). She has published several collections of short stories including The Living Hothouse (1988), for which she won the Steele Rudd Award, and The Hanged Man in the Garden (1989). She contributed to Canberra Tales (1988) alongside six other Canberra women writers who met regularly to encourage each other during the 1980s and 1990s. Her non-fiction includes The Taste of Memory (2004), a reflection on food and gardens. ‘The point of writing a literary novel is to find out what it is you are writing a novel about’, she says. ‘You must not wait until you know where you are going, either that will never happen or it will make the process very dull.’ Halligan’s most recent novel is Goodbye Sweetheart (2015).

The portrait’s title quotes the eighteenth-century essayist, Samuel Johnson.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery, Canberra
Gift of the artist 2004
Accession number: 2004.49.a-i