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Nan McDonald Nan McDonald i(A34742 works by) (a.k.a. Nancy May McDonald)
Born: Established: 25 Dec 1921 Eastwood, Epping - Pennant Hills area, Northwest Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales, ; Died: Ceased: 7 Jan 1974 Mount Ousley, Woonona - Mount Keira - North Wollongong area, Wollongong area, Illawarra, South Coast, New South Wales,
Gender: Female
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BiographyHistory

Nan McDonald was the third child of William James McDonald, postal engineer and returned soldier, and his first wife Beatrice May, née Hancox. Nan grew up at Eastwood, spending holidays on the Hawkesbury, and at Blackheath and Wellington. She attended Hornsby Girls' High School between 1934 and 1938 where she contributed poems to the school magazine, twice winning the Ethel Curlewis (q.v.) prize for verse. At the University of Sydney she graduated in 1943 with a Bachelor of Arts degree and second-class honours in English.

In 1943 McDonald joined the editorial staff of Angus and Robertson where she worked with Alec Bolton, Beatrice Davis, Rosemary Dobson and Douglas Stewart (qq.v.). Valued by Davis as her 'lieutenant' and 'the best and most sensitive editor in Australia' (Jacqueline Kent q.v., A Certain Style: Beatrice Davis: A Literary Life 2001, p.94), McDonald made a significant contribution to the publication of Australian fiction and history for thirty years. She and Davis worked for long hours on the manuscripts of Ion Idriess and Frank Clune (qq.v.) and McDonald was responsible for some editing of Eve Langley (q.v.) manuscripts, especially White Topee (1954). From 1948 McDonald corresponded with 'Dearest Rozzie' (Dobson), exchanging 'pomes' for comment and telling of her garden. After the takeover of Angus and Robertson in 1970, McDonald took leave and then freelanced for the firm.

In a brief obituary in the Australian Author (6.2, 1974, p. 41), Nancy Keesing (q.v.) quoted R. D. Fitzgerald's (q.v.) comment that McDonald was 'the tranquil South Coast poet'. Keesing paid tribute to a writer whose 'very considerable contribution to the poetry and general literature of her time is sometimes overlooked from a close range, but may well, in future, be more adequately assessed.'

(Acknowledgment for most biographical detail to J. I. Roe, 'McDonald, Nancy May (Nan) (1921 - 1974)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 15, Melbourne University Press 2000, p. 193).

Most Referenced Works

Awards for Works

Pacific Sea 1947 selected work poetry
1947 inaugural winner Grace Leven Poetry Prize
Last amended 7 Oct 2008 10:18:54
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