Also writes as: Jael Paris
Born: Established: 21 May 1923 Perth, Western Australia, ; Died: Ceased: 25 Aug 2002 Blue Mountains, Sydney, New South Wales,
Dorothy Coade Hewett was born and raised in Western Australia on an isolated farm in the wheat belt town of Wickepin. Until the age of twelve, she was educated by correspondence and had already begun writing short stories and poems. Between 1928 and 1938, Western Australia's Education Department conducted a program for correspondence pupils to develop poetry appreciation and writing skills. Pupils were sent illustrated 'Pattern Poetry' which they could follow to develop form and rhyming skills. Those who showed promise were then given special attention. Hewett's poem, 'Dreaming', written when she was nine years old, was published in an anthology of the children's work in 1938. Hewett attended the University of Western Australia and at nineteen her poetry appeared in Meanjin. By twenty-two she had won a drama competition and a national poetry competition.
Hewett joined the Communist Party of Australia when she was nineteen, resigning in 1968 after the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia. In 1944 she married Lloyd Davies and had one child, but after the failure of the marriage, Hewett moved in 1948 to Sydney where she lived and worked in factories in the poorer areas of Sydney. For nine years she lived with Les Flood, boiler-maker and communist, with whom she had three sons. In the 1950s Hewett was very involved in Party activities. Her novel Bobbin Up (1959), written in six weeks, was based on her own experience of working in a spinning mill, her membership of the CPA at that time, and her life in the inner city working class suburbs of Sydney.
When her relationship with Flood ended in 1960, Hewett returned to Perth, resumed studies at the University of Western Australia, completed her degree, taught English at the University of Western Australia and married Merv Lilley, merchant seaman and communist, with whom she had two daughters. After some years of tutoring at the university, she again moved to Sydney and resumed writing. In her last years she and Lilley moved to the Blue Mountains area.
Dorothy Hewett published many collections of poetry, novels, an autobiography and plays, as well as numerous articles and short stories. She was writer-in-residence at universities in Australia and the USA and she was awarded eight fellowships by the Literature Board of the Australia Council and had a lifetime Emeritus Fellowship from the Literature Board. Dorothy Hewett was made a Member of the Order of Australia (AM) for services to literature.