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The AustLit Australian Drama Archive

(Status : Public)
Coordinated by Australian Drama Archive
  • Dorothy Blewett (1898-1965)

  • Dorothy Blewett, ca. 1948.
  • A little-remembered playwright, novelist, short story writer, and literary agent, Dorothy Blewett is an intriguing Australian writer deserving of much greater attention than she has received either in her lifetime, or subsequently.

    All of her extant plays, written between the early 1940s and the late 1950s, are becoming available in AustLit's Australian Drama Archive. They are an fascinating demonstration of a wide-ranging, somewhat eclectic, intellectual and artistic set of interests. Subjects covered include a hospital drama, an interesting take on Australian colonial history, family intrigue and secrets, and a surprising and dramatically powerful lesbian drama. Some of these plays are remarkably different to Australian theatre writing of the period. 

    Dorothy Blewett also wrote and had published two novels before moving to London in 1950 or 1951. Both Vision : A Novel (1931), under the pseudonym Anne Praize, and Pattern for a Scandal (1948) are available in full text through her AustLit records. While in London in the 1950s she also wrote at least two novels which were not published. 'Death of a Nom de Plume' is a police-procedural murder mystery set in Cornwall, Britain, in the style of an Agatha Christie novel. AustLit will publishing the novel shortly. Another novel, which Blewett described in correspondence as "a 100,000 word historical novel" was written and delivered in 1957 to an unknown publisher, but its fate remains a mystery.

    Her short stories, published in magazines during her lifetime, will also gradually be made available through AustLit.

    Contact: austlit@uq.edu.au for more information.

  • AustLit Record - Dorothy Blewett

    image of person or book cover
    Dorothy Blewett ca. 1940s. Image provided by Blewett family.

    Dorothy Blewett was born in Northcote in 1898 and was educated at the Methodist Ladies College. She was a novelist, playwright, short story writer, and active promoter of Australian literature through her work with International PEN, as a literary agent, and as secretary of the London-based, Society of Australian Writers during the 1950s. She was also secretary of the Melbourne branch of the PEN club

    Blewett worked as a teacher as a young woman, then as a secretary and stenographer for a number of large companies in Melbourne, including at the Melbourne Head Office of Thomas Cook Travel where she worked from 1947 to 1951.

    See full AustLit entry
  • The Plays

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      Quiet Night: A Play in Three Acts

    • Set Design from Blewett's papers.
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      The First Joanna

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      It Has Happened Before

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      I Have Taken a Prisoner

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      Relative Truth

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      Challenge : A Play in One-Act

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      Astral Journey

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      Con Sordini: A Play in One Act

  • Acknowledgements

    Dorothy Blewett's family, Mrs Prue Molnar and Mr Michael Rice, have been immensely generous in their support for this project. AustLit has received permission to publish or republish Blewett's plays and her novels.

  • Image Credits

    All images used are under Creative Commons CC0. They have been edited for publication.

    It Has Happened Before

    Untitled, Pixabay. Source.

    I have taken a prisoner

    Untitled, Pixabay. Source.

    Relative truth

    Untitled, Pixabay. Source.

    Challenge

    Untitled, Pixabay. Source.

    Astral Journey

    Untitled, Pixabay. Source.

    Con Sordini

    A companion to Mr. Bullock's London Museum and Pantherion : containing a brief description of upwards of fifteen thousand natural and foreign curiosities, antiquities, and productions of the fine arts, collected during seventeen years of arduous research, and at an expense of thirty thousand pounds : and now open for public inspection in the Egyptian Temple, just erected for its reception, in Piccadilly, London, opposite the end of Bond-Street, Wikimedia Commons, Source.

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