AustLit logo
NLA image of person
A. D. Hope A. D. Hope i(A16935 works by) (a.k.a. Alec Derwent Hope)
Born: Established: 21 Jul 1907 Cooma, Cooma area, Cooma - Snowy - Bombala area, Southeastern NSW, New South Wales, ; Died: Ceased: 13 Jul 2000 Canberra, Australian Capital Territory,
Gender: Male
The material on this page is available to AustLit subscribers. If you are a subscriber or are from a subscribing organisation, please log in to gain full access. To explore options for subscribing to this unique teaching, research, and publishing resource for Australian culture and storytelling, please contact us or find out more.


The son of a Presbyterian Minister, A. D. Hope was educated at home and at schools in Tasmania and New South Wales before matriculating to Sydney University where he studied English and philosophy. Hope won a scholarship to University College, Oxford, returning to Sydney in 1930 with a disappointing third-class degree. In Sydney he trained as a teacher. He later retrained as a psychologist.

In 1938, Hope married Penelope Robinson with whom he had three children. Drawing from years of writing, Hope also published what he would later claim as his first poems at this time. (He had previously published in school and university magazines from an early age.) In 1938 he was appointed lecturer at the Sydney Teachers' College. During the 1940s Hope broadcast regularly on the Australian Broadcasting Commission's Children's Session. Using the pseudonym Anthony Inkwell, Hope conducted the literary section in the Argonauts Club segment. His academic career was firmly established in 1951 when he was appointed professor of English at Canberra University College (later Australian National University). Here he continued to write his caustic reviews, the most notorious a review of Patrick White's Tree of Man. By 1955 Hope had built a reputation as a poet through publication in various periodicals and anthologies, although the publication of The Wandering Islands in that year was delayed because of its erotic content: the final book had a number of poems removed before publication. This volume won the Grace Leven Prize, initiating a series of awards and honours over the next forty-five years. Hope's significant output includes poetry, translations, critical editions and criticism, establishing him as a major voice in Australia's literary culture. Among his other publications was a 'purged and amended' edition of Christopher Marlowe's The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus (1982).

After retiring from teaching in 1967, Hope was made Professor Emeritus and travelled and lectured in Europe and America. His final volume of poetry appeared in 1992.

Hope's exploration of erotic themes, his affinity with eighteenth century verse and his dismissal of free verse brought some criticism of his poetry in the latter decades of the twentieth century. But, despite being considered old-fashioned by some critics and sexist by others, Hope's poetry continues to be anthologised and studied world-wide. His unapologetic preference for older forms has received praise by major critics, ensuring that his literary reputation remains strong. As well as Australian awards, Hope received the Levinson Prize for Poetry (Chicago) 1969 and the Ingram Merrill Award for Literature (New York) 1969.

A. D. Hope spent his final years in a Canberra nursing home.

Most Referenced Works


  • Hooton's bibliography A. D. Hope (1978) states Hope won a number of awards for Collected Poems. However, there are two different works with that title and it is difficult to attribute the awards accurately. The awards are: Australian Arts Award at Henry Lawson Festival, Grenfell, 1966; RA Crouch Memorial Gold Medal, 1967; Sydney Myer Charity Trust Award for Australian Literature, 1967.

Awards for Works

y separately published work icon Selected Poems Pymble : Angus and Robertson , 1992 Z552438 1992 selected work poetry
1993 joint winner Australian Capital Territory Book of the Year Award
y separately published work icon The Age of Reason Carlton : Melbourne University Press , 1985 Z381992 1985 selected work poetry
1985 shortlisted National Book Council Award for Australian Literature
y separately published work icon A Late Picking : Poems 1965-1974 Sydney : Angus and Robertson , 1975 Z244524 1975 selected work poetry
1976 winner The Age Book of the Year Award Fiction Prize
1976 winner The Age Book of the Year Award Book of the Year

Known archival holdings

Papers 1928 - 1978 National Library of Australia (ACT)
Last amended 19 Jul 2022 09:39:24
Influence on:
Variations on a Theme 1963 sequence poetry
Other mentions of "" in AustLit: