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Desmond O'Grady Desmond O'Grady i(A16456 works by) (a.k.a. Desmond Michael O'Grady)
Born: Established: 11 Dec 1929 Melbourne, Victoria, ; Died: Ceased: 26 Nov 2021
Western Europe, Europe,

Gender: Male
Expatriate assertion Departed from Australia: 1962
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Desmond O'Grady was the son of Edward and Winifred O'Grady. His great-grandfather, James O'Grady, was an Irish mariner who married Elizabeth McSweeney in Cork before coming to Melbourne in 1858. His father's mother, Florence Tomb, who had come to Melbourne from New Zealand in 1888, was of English stock. O'Grady grew up in a third generation Irish Catholic Labor-sympathising family in Middle Park, Mosman, East St Kilda and East Malvern. He went to secondary school with Barry Oakley who planned to leave with him for Europe on a working holiday but married instead. O'Grady was a classmate of journalist and jazz musician Richard Hughes and a friend of Vincent Buckley. He studied English literature at the University of Melbourne and was involved with the Catholic Worker newspaper at this time.

O'Grady became a school teacher and left for Europe in 1955, breaking an Education Department bond. He returned to Australia in 1957. O'Grady worked briefly for Weekend before becoming a feature writer and reviews editor for the Observer and 'Red Page' editor for the Sydney Bulletin. (O'Grady succeeded Douglas Stewart (q.v.) as literary editor of the Bulletin.) Five years later O'Grady returned to Italy for family reasons (he had married an Italian), and to cover the Second Vatican Council. He settled in Rome where he became an author, news correspondent and journalist although he made regular return visits to Australia. O'Grady contributed to publications in many countries including Australia, the United States, the United Kingdom and Italy. These publications include Corriere della Sera, Il Mondo, Internazionale and Epoca in Italy; the New York Times, Washington Post, New Leader and Commonweal in the USA and the London Sunday Times, the London Daily and Sunday Telegraph, the Guardian and the Spectator in the United Kingdom.

O'Grady was the author of the novels Deschooling Kevin Carew (1974) and Dinny Going Down (2007), as well as a number of plays, including The Heart of the Wise, the manuscript of which is held in the Fryer Library's Hanger Collection (The University of Queensland). He has also published a wide range of short stories across a number of periodicals.

O'Grady was also known for his biographies, history, journalism and religious studies. These other works include Eat From God's Hand : Paul Gauthier and the Church of the Poor (1965), The Victory of the Cross: A History of the Early Church in Rome (1992), The Turned Card : Christianity before and after the Wall (1995), Rome Reshaped : Jubilees 1300-2000 (1999) and Beyond the Empire : Rome and the Church from Constantine to Charlemagne (2001). His 1985 biography of Raffaello Carboni (republished in 2004) won the 2008 Premio Calabria Prize.

Sources: Desmond O'Grady, 'Memoir: At Home in Both Places', Griffith Review 6 (Summer 2004-2005): 223-235, and additional information supplied by the author.

Most Referenced Works

Awards for Works

y separately published work icon Raffaello! Raffaello! Sydney : Hale and Iremonger , 1985 Z234047 1985 single work biography
2008 winner Premio Calabria Prize (Italy)

Known archival holdings

Albinski 171-172
Manuscript drafts, clippings, notes and galley proofs relating to Raffaello! Rafaello! (1985), Deschooling Kevin Carew (1974) and many short stories. Correspondence is also included. University of New South Wales Australian Defence Force Academy Australian Defence Force Academy Library (ACT)
Last amended 27 Oct 2023 13:21:51
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