Biography of Shirley Hazzard

Shirley Hazzard (born 30 January 1931) is an Australian author of fiction and nonfiction. She was born in Australia, but holds citizenship in Great Britain and the United States. Her 1970 novel The Bay of Noon was shortlisted for the Lost Man Booker Prize in 2010 and her 2003 novel The Great Fire won the U.S. National Book Award for Fiction.

Hazzard was born in Sydney and attended Queenwood School for Girls in Mosman, but left in 1947 to travel through Southeast Asia with her parents. Her first landing was Hiroshima. Her diplomat father took her to Hong Kong, and then she was "brutally removed by destiny" to New Zealand where her father was Australian Trade Commissioner. Hazzard says of her experience of the East that "I began to feel that people could enjoy life, should enjoy life".

Hazzard's early life "was a carbon copy of Helen Driscoll's" (the heroine of The Great Fire). Helen and her brother, the dying Benedict, are described as "wonderfully well-read, a poetic pair who live in literature." Poetry, she says, has always been the centre of her life.

She travelled to Italy in 1956, and worked for a year in Naples.

In 1963, Hazzard married the writer Francis Steegmuller, who died in 1994. As of 2006, she lives in New York City, frequently travelling to her Italian residence in Capri.

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