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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.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that this website contains images of deceased persons.

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 completed an arts degree at the University of 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 at the beginning of the 1980s, she returned to Australia in 1983 and worked at SBS Television's subtitling unit. In 1984 she published the collection of stories Bearded Ladies. The novels Lilian's Story (1985), Dreamhouse (1986) Dark Places (1995) and Joan Makes History (1988) followed. Lilian's Story (loosely based on the life of Bea Miles) was filmed starring Ruth Cracknell, Toni Collette and Barry Otto, and Dreamhouse was filmed as Traps, starring Jacqueline MacKenzie. Grenville's international best-seller The Secret River (2005) won many prizes, including the Commonwealth Prize for Literature and the Christina Stead Prize. It also formed the basis of her doctorate in creative arts from University of Technology, Sydney. The Idea of Perfection (2000) won the Orange Prize (a prominent British award for the best book by a woman) in 2001, edging out Margaret Atwood's The Blind Assassin. 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.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Purchased 2008
© Tim Georgeson

Accession number: 2008.60

Currently not on display

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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 reading The Secret River video: 6 minutes
Kate Grenville reading The Secret River video: 6 minutes
Kate Grenville reading The Secret River video: 6 minutes
Kate Grenville reading The Secret River video: 6 minutes

Kate Grenville

'The secret river'

Portrait story

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

Making Stories video: 3 minutes
Making Stories video: 3 minutes
Making Stories video: 3 minutes
Making Stories video: 3 minutes

Kate Grenville

'Making Stories'

Portrait story

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

The National Portrait Gallery
The National Portrait Gallery
The National Portrait Gallery

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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.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that this website contains images of deceased persons.