Shirley Hazzard

Hazzard, Shirley, 1931–, Australian novelist and short-story writer, b. Sydney. Educated in Australia, she has lived in the United States since 1951, working at the United Nations in New York from 1952–62. Both she and her husband, writer Francis Steegmuller (1906–94), were frequent contributors to the New Yorker. Hazzard is noted for the insight, sensitivity, and subtlety of her writing and for a lyrical style sometimes leavened by gentle irony. She achieved early critical success with her first story collection, Cliffs of Fall (1963), followed by another collection and two novels of Italy, The Evening of the Holiday (1966) and The Bay of Noon (1970). Her next novel, The Transit of Venus (1980), a psychologically rich treatment of interconnected stories set in modern England, brought her literary acclaim and a greatly expanded readership. Hazzard did not publish another novel until 2003 when The Great Fire, a bittersweet post–World War II love story, was released to considerable praise. Hazzard has also written such nonfiction works as People in Glass Houses (1967), about the United Nations; and Greene on Capri (2000), a memoir.

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