Dorothy Porter lived in Sydney and the Blue Mountains until her move to Melbourne in 1993. She was educated at the Queenwood School for Girls in Sydney and graduated from Sydney University in 1975 with a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree in English and History, and from the Sydney Teacher's College with a Diploma of Education. She worked on an Israeli kibbutz, as a bus conductor on the Sydney buses, and taught creative writing in schools, prisons and community workshops. She lecturered part-time in Poetry and Writing at the University of Technology, Sydney.
Porter was a highly accomplished poet-performer who regularly read extracts from her books and unpublished writings at a variety of venues and festivals in Australia and overseas.
Porter won numerous awards for her poetry and children's books. Some of her works have been adapted for theatre and radio, and The Monkey's Mask was made into a feature film by Arenafilm in 2000.
In 2006 she was engaged on a film version of The Eternity Man, an opera she wrote in collaboration with composer Jonathon Mills which was based on the life of Edgar Stace, a Sydney man who, for decades, chalked the word 'Eternity' around Sydney. At the time of her death, Porter was working on the libretto for a rock opera, January, with Tim Finn.
Porter broke new poetic and crime fiction ground with her verse novels The Monkey's Mask and El Dorado.
The Bee Hut2009selected work poetry 'The Bee Hut, [Dorothy Porter's] fifteenth book, brings together the poems she wrote in the last five years of her life. By turns expansive and intimate, effusive and contemplative, these poems roam widely: there are journeys into history and to sacred places both mythic and deeply personal.' (From the publisher's website.)
El Dorado2007single work novel crime detective thriller
'There is a serial killer stalking the streets of Melbourne. The victims are killed gently, lovingly, a gold mark traced on their forehead. This killer doesn't hate children. This killer believes in childhood innocence at any cost...El Dorado is the story of a friendship under siege, and the very long shadows that jealousy and betrayal can cast.' - back cover
'Alex Leefson is astronomy's glamour girl, in love with the satellite Europa and the equally unreachable Phoebe. Meanwhile, her husband Daniel mourns the demise of his marriage and his life. Full of Dorothy Porter's customary bite and sensuality, Wild Surmise is an engrossing duet between two passionately estranged voices. An intensely moving verse novel of passions and vulnerabilities, love and death.' (Publication summary)