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Elizabeth Jolley Elizabeth Jolley i(A20550 works by) (birth name: Monica Elizabeth Knight) (a.k.a. Monica Elizabeth Jolley)
Born: Established: 4 Jun 1923 Birmingham, West Midlands,
United Kingdom (UK),
Western Europe, Europe,
; Died: Ceased: 13 Feb 2007 Perth, Western Australia,
Gender: Female
Arrived in Australia: 1959
Heritage: English
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Elizabeth Jolley was born in Birmingham, in the industrial midlands of England, in 1923, the daughter of an English father and a Viennese mother. Until the age of eleven she was educated privately at home, then attended a Quaker boarding school and did nursing training in London where she experienced not only the effects of war on the wounded soldiers but also some aspects of institutional life. This experience, as well as the family tensions caused by the pacifist values of her father and the sense of exile felt by her mother, provided much of the material of Jolley's later fiction. In 1959 she emigrated to Australia with her husband and their three children. She worked in various fields, for instance as a nurse, a domestic cleaner, a door-to-door salesperson, and her often rather eccentric characters reflect her keen observation of the human condition gathered in such jobs.

Jolley wrote for twenty years before her first novel was published (constantly keeping notebooks and drafts).With the publication of Miss Peabody's Inheritance and Mr Scobie's Riddle (both 1983) her recognition and reputation immediately soared. Since then a considerable number of her novels and short stories have been published in Australia and overseas, many of them winning prestigious literary awards. Some have been turned into plays or films (most notably The Well; see also the film based on her life, The Night Belongs to the Novelist). A collection of her autobiographical pieces, speeches and articles was published under the title Central Mischief (1992).

Jolley taught creative writing at various tertiary institutions from the 1970s and was made a Professor of Creative Writing at Curtin University (Perth) in 1998. She received honorary doctorates from Curtin University, Macquarie University, University of NSW and the University of Queensland and in 1998 was named one of Australia's 100 National Living Treasures.

In keeping with her close appreciation of nature and the land, Jolley cultivated a farm with an orchard in Wooroloo near Perth. It burned down in bushfires in the late 1990s. In August 2002 she was admitted to a nursing home near her family home in Perth.


Most Referenced Works

Awards for Works

y separately published work icon Learning to Dance : Elizabeth Jolley : Her Life and Work Camberwell : Viking , 2006 Z1259041 2006 selected work short story essay poetry autobiography extract prose

'Elizabeth Jolley is one of Australia's most significant and best-loved writers, delighting readers with her acute observation of the world, her wicked humour, her compassion and her honesty. Learning to Dance brings together some of her most poignant short stories, essays and poems, and includes two formerly unpublished pieces. The recurring themes of her life and work are evident here: the complex relationships within families; homesickness and exile; intense love between women; the healing power of the land; the inevitability of loneliness; and the fragile nature of happiness.

'Together, these writings form something close to an autobiography. Above all, they are a celebration of Elizabeth's rich life and work.' (Publication summary)

2006 shortlisted Western Australian Premier's Book Awards Non-Fiction
y separately published work icon An Innocent Gentleman Ringwood : Viking , 2001 Z893450 2001 single work novel (taught in 4 units)

'Henry and Muriel's life on the new estate is relatively harmonious, despite the vulgar neighbours (the Tonkettes), the Second World War and the regular Sunday visits from Muriel's mother (who believes her daughter has married far below her station).

'The accidental appearance of Mr Hawthorne - Muriel's student - at their house one Sunday afternoon brings unexpected upheavals. Here is a man of respectable breeding, of munificent means, and someone capable of refined, intelligent conversation. Mr Hawthorne has something to offer everyone in the family, but his posting to London disturbs the delicate balance of personal affairs ...'

Source: Publisher's blurb.

2001 shortlisted Western Australian Premier's Book Awards Fiction
y separately published work icon Lovesong Ringwood : Penguin , 1997 Z495772 1997 single work novel
1998 shortlisted Commonwealth Writers Prize Best Book South-East Asia and South Pacific Region
1998 shortlisted Victorian Premier's Literary Awards Prize for Fiction
1998 shortlisted Miles Franklin Literary Award

Known archival holdings

State Library of NSW (NSW)
Last amended 10 Dec 2019 16:05:42
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