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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders both past and present.

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Kate Grenville

2008
Tim Georgeson

gelatin silver photograph on paper (sheet: 50.5 cm x 40.7 cm, image: 45.4 cm x 35.8 cm)

Kate Grenville AO (b. 1950), novelist, studied in Sydney and worked as a film editor before spending several years in the UK and Europe, where she began to write. After completing an MA in creative writing at the University of Colorado, she returned to Australia in 1983 and worked at SBS Television's subtitling unit. In 1984 she published the collection of stories Bearded Ladies. Her novels Lilian's Story (1985) – which won The Australian/Vogel Literary Award – and Dreamhouse (1986) were both made into Australian feature films in the 1990s. The Idea of Perfection (2000) won the Orange Prize, a prominent British award for the best book by a woman, in 2001. A few years later, her international bestseller The Secret River (2005), based on her great-great-great-grandfather's life, won many prizes, including the Commonwealth Prize for Literature and the Christina Stead Prize. It was adapted for the stage by the Sydney Theatre Company in 2013 and made into a 2015 ABC television series. Her other novels include Dark Places (1994), The Lieutenant (2008), Sarah Thornhill (2011) – the sequel to The Secret River – and A Room Made of Leaves (2020). In 2015 she wrote a memoir One Life: My Mother's Story. Grenville's novels have been widely published in translation. She has also written or co-written several books about the process of writing, which are used in school and university writing courses. Grenville was awarded the 2017 Australia Council Award for Lifetime Achievement in Literature.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Purchased 2008
© Tim Georgeson

The National Portrait Gallery respects the artistic and intellectual property rights of others. Works of art from the collection are reproduced as per the Australian Copyright Act 1968 (Cth). The use of images of works from the collection may be restricted under the Act. Requests for a reproduction of a work of art can be made through a Reproduction request. For further information please contact NPG Copyright.

Artist and subject

Tim Georgeson (age 39 in 2008)

Kate Grenville AO (age 58 in 2008)

Related portraits

1. Kate (Kate Grenville), 2012. All Jenny Sages.

Related information

The Companion

Permanent collection catalogue

Café and shop

On one level The Companion talks about the most famous and frontline Australians, but on another it tells us about ourselves: who we read, who we watch, who we listen to, who we cheer for, who we aspire to be, and who we'll never forget. The Companion is available to buy online and in the Portrait Gallery Store.

Kate Grenville

'The secret river'

Portrait story

Kate Grenville reads a passage from her novel The secret river and describes its creation.

Kate Grenville

'Making Stories'

Portrait story

Australian writer Kate Grenville discusses her career and portrait by Jenny Sages.

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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders past and present. We respectfully advise that this site includes works by, images of, names of, voices of and references to deceased people.

This website comprises and contains copyrighted materials and works. Copyright in all materials and/or works comprising or contained within this website remains with the National Portrait Gallery and other copyright owners as specified.

The National Portrait Gallery respects the artistic and intellectual property rights of others. The use of images of works of art reproduced on this website and all other content may be restricted under the Australian Copyright Act 1968 (Cth). Requests for a reproduction of a work of art or other content can be made through a Reproduction request. For further information please contact NPG Copyright.

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