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Kate (Kate Grenville)
, 2012

by Jenny Sages

encaustic, oil and pigment on composition board (support: 180.0 cm x 190.0 cm)

Kate Grenville (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) – loosely based on the life of Bea Miles – and Dreamhouse (1986) were both made into Australian feature films in the 1990s. Her 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 best-seller The Secret River (2005) won many prizes, including the Commonwealth Prize for Literature and the Christina Stead Prize. In 2008 she published The Lieutenant, a novel based on the Sydney experiences of First Fleet officer William Dawes. 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.

Sages has depicted Grenville by the Hawkesbury River, the setting for The Secret River and its sequel, Sarah Thornhill (2011).

Collection: National Portrait Gallery, Canberra
Gift of Jenny Sages 2014
Donated through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program
Accession number: 2014.7