Born: Established: 16 Apr 1940 Newcastle ;
Marion Halligan was born and educated in Newcastle. She worked as a school teacher and freelance journalist before publishing her first short stories in the early 1980s. Halligan is a prolific reviewer and short story writer, winning awards in both fields. Her first collection of stories, The Living Hothouse (1988) won a number of awards including the Steele Rudd Award. She published her first novel in 1987 and has published six novels to date (2001). Her most admired work is Lovers' Knots: A Hundred-Year Novel (1992) which won many awards, including the Age Book of the Year Award. Her 1996 novel The Golden Dress was short-listed for the Miles Franklin Award.
Many of Halligan's stories and novels are set in Canberra and explore individual lives in the city's academic culture. Lovers' Knots is set in Newcastle and tells the story of one family's growth in a loosely plotted narrative that provides glimpses of the family at various times. Halligan has also written a book about food that won the Prize for Gastronomic Writing in 1991. Her most recent book, The Fog Garden (2001), draws many elements from her own experience of losing her husband to cancer.
Halligan has served as chairperson of the Literature Board of the Australia Council and the Australian National Word Festival. She has been writer-in-residence at several institutions and has received a number of grants from the Literature Board of the Australia Council. She currently resides in Canberra and writes full-time.