Shirley Hazzard (born 30 January 1931) is an Australian author offiction and non-fiction. She was born in Australia, but holds citizenship ofGreat Britain and the United States. Her 1970 novel, The Bay ofNoon, was shortlisted for the Lost Man Booker Prize in 2010 and her2003 novel The Great Fire won the U.S. National Book Award for Fiction.
Hazzard was born in Sydney and attended Queenwood School for Girls in Mosman, but left in 1947 to travel through Southeast Asia withher parents. Her first landing was Hiroshima. Her diplomat father tookher to Hong Kong, and then she was "brutally removed by destiny" to New Zealand where her father was Australian Trade Commissioner. Hazzard says of her experience of the East that "I began to feel thatpeople could enjoy life, should enjoy life".
Hazzard's early life "was a carbon copy of Helen Driscoll's" (the heroineof The Great Fire). Helen and her brother, the dying Benedict, are described as "wonderfully well read, a poetic pair who live in literature."Poetry, she says, has always been the center of her life.
In 1963, Hazzard married the writer Francis Steegmuller, who died in 1994. As of 2006, she lives in New York City, frequently travelling to herItalian residence in Capri.
Hazzard is the author of four novels and two collections of short fiction.Her first book, the story collection Cliffs of Fall, was published in 1963. In 1977 her short story "A Long Story Short", originally published in The New Yorker on 26 July 1976, received an O. Henry Award.
The Transit of Venus, her third novel, won the 1980 National Book Critics Circle Award. Her next novel, The Great Fire, which took her 20 years to complete, garnered the 2003 National Book Award, the 2004 Miles Franklin Award, and the 2005 William Dean Howells Medal.It was also shortlisted for the Orange Prize for Fiction, long listed for the 2004 Man Booker Prize, and named a 2003 Book of the Year by The Economist. Her second novel, The Bay of Noon, was nominated for the Lost Man Booker Prize.
In addition to fiction, Hazzard has written two books critical of the United Nations: Defeat of an Ideal (1973) and Countenance of Truth (1990), and, "Greene on Capri", the latter an account of her friendship with Graham Greene. Her most recent work of nonfiction, The Ancient Shore: Dispatches from Naples (2008) is a collection of writings on Naples, Italy,co-authored by her late husband, Francis Steegmuller.
In 1984 the Australian Broadcasting Corporation invited Hazzard to give the Boyer Lectures, a series of radio talks delivered each year by a prominent Australian. The talks were published the following year under the title Coming of Age inAustralia.