Literary Birthday – 30 January – Shirley Hazzard

Shirley Hazzard was born 30 January 1931 and died 12 December 2016.

Five Quotes

  1. Americans’ great and secret fear is that America may turn out to be a phenomenon rather than a civilization.
  2. When I was fifteen, sixteen, I had already lived deeply in poetry and had a large memory for it. Imagination was hungry and adventurous. Exceptional, perhaps, but not all that exceptional at the time. Deep early reading may seem improbable now because of technological entertainments and of the greatly reduced literary expectations of our society. The diminishing vocabulary results in diminished expressiveness and sentiment, and diminished reading.
  3. If only I could write every day. I look back to the far-off time when I did so, mostly early morning and then late in the day. I do write in my head every day—I’m tempted to say all the time. One does instinctively reserve a part of oneself as the writing self, visiting it secretly while doing and saying all the daily things.
  4. Sometimes, surely, truth is closer to imagination or to intelligence, to love than to fact? To be accurate is not to be right.
  5. It’s nervous work. The state you need to write in is the state that others are paying large sums of money to get rid of.

Shirley Hazzard was an Australian author of fiction and non-fiction who held both British and American citizenship. Her 1970 novel, The Bay of Noon, was short-listed for the Lost Man Booker Prize in 2010 and her 2003 novel The Great Fire won the U.S. National Book Award for Fiction.

Source for Image: Christopher Peterson, CC BY-SA 3.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons

by Amanda Patterson

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Posted on: 30th January 2014