Also writes as: Lee Ann Sonnino
Born: Established: 15 Jul 1942 Sydney New South Wales ;
Born of Anglo-Australian and Italian parents, Lee Cataldi attended Friends' School in Hobart. She graduated from the University of Sydney with a Bachelor of Arts with Honours and the University Medal in 1962. In 1968 she graduated from Oxford with a Bachelor of Letters.
Cataldi lived in Italy for a time, and in 1967 published A Handbook to 16th Century Rhetoric (as Lee Ann Sonnino) . From 1967-73 she lectured in English at the University of Bristol, and it was during this time that she became an active socialist. On returning to Australia, she taught at Tempe High School, Sydney, from 1975-1981 and co-ordinated the Poets in Schools Project in Sydney in 1981 and 1982 for the Australia Council. From 1983-1991 she worked at Lajamanu School (NT) as a teacher/linguist.
In 1991 she and Peggy Rockman Napaljarri won a grant from the Australian Institute of Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander Studies to collect and translate Warlpiri traditional narratives. Together they edited and translated Warlpiri Dreamings and Histories (1994). During this period, Cataldi also lectured in Languages and Linguistics at Batchelor College.
As well as being fluent in Warlpiri, Cataldi also has some knowledge of three other Aboriginal languages; Ngardi, Jaru and Kukatja, and speaks Italian and French. In 1993 she was joint consultant with Christine Nicholls of Flinders University in delivering the third stage of the AIDAB project "Vernacular Publishing, Creating a Literature" for the Education Departments of the Republic of Kiribati and the Cook Islands. She has held several other consultancies and lectureships, working in WA, NSW and the NT.
In 1998, Cataldi was Visiting Scholar at the Centre for Women's Studies at the University of Adelaide, and had an ASIALINK Writer's Residency in Delhi, India.