David Ireland was born at Lakemba, New South Wales, and was educated at various schools, including Sydney Technical High School. After finishing high school, he held a variety of jobs, but spent most of his working life in an oil refinery. From an early age Ireland aspired to be a writer and he published several poems in the early 1950s. In 1958, he won third prize in the Elizabethan Theatre Trust competition for his play about an Aboriginal family, Image in the Clay. He wrote further plays, but he is best-known as a fiction writer, publishing his first novel, The Chantic Bird, in 1968.
Ireland's second novel, The Unknown Industrial Prisoner, won the Miles Franklin Award in 1971. He wrote another three novels during the 1970s and won the Miles Franklin Award two more times, for The Glass Canoe (1976) and A Woman of the Future (1979). He was made a member in the Order of Australia (AM) in 1981 and won the ALS Gold Medal in 1985.
Ireland's novels frequently explore the relationship between fiction and reality with fragmented narratives and unconventional narrators such as the red setter dog in Archimedes and the Seagle (1984). Ireland's frank and explicit treatment of sex has attracted controversy, causing his books to be withdrawn from the recommended reading list for the NSW Higher School Certificate course in 1983. But despite some argument over the merit of his work in the late 1970s, his fiction has since supported by two book-length studies.
'The protagonist of this first-person narrative is Archimedes, also called ""Happy,'' an Irish setter who has taught himself to read and write. Archimedes guides the reader through the streets of Sydney, Australia, and expounds on human and dog life. Happy's world includes a Sydney waterfront where humans act like seagulls and seagulls take on human characteristics: there are seagull tourists, seagull art critics and seagull gay-rights activists. The eponymous seagle is different from the other seagulls, spending most of its time soaring like an eagle, and Archimedes admires it from a distance.'
City of Women : A Novel1981single work novel science fiction 'Billie Shockley is sixty-two, a retired engineer, who lives in the heart of Sydney which is both realistically defined —streets, buildings, parks, and landmarks are named —and futuristically portrayed —it is an embattled city, inhabited entirely by women. Shockley is both lonely and alone. Her narrative is a long, discursive, self-exploratory and explanatory letter to her lost love, a female companion called Bobbie'. Source: untitled review.