Hazzard, Shirley

Hazzard, Shirley,

1931–2016, Australian-American novelist and short-story writer, b. Sydney. Educated in Australia, she lived in Hong Kong, Italy, and New Zealand before settling in the United States in 1951, where she worked (1952–62) at the United Nations in New York. She later divided her time between New York City and Italy. 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. In addition, her characters share her international experiences and perspectives. She achieved early critical success with her first story collection, Cliffs of Fall (1963), followed by People in Glass Houses (1967), a series of linked stories satirizing the bureaucratic life at the United Nations, 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 The Great Fire (2003), a bittersweet post–World War II love story that received the National Book Award. Hazzard also wrote nonfiction works, including Countenance of Truth (1990), about the Kurt WaldheimWaldheim, Kurt
, 1918–2007, Austrian diplomat, secretary-general of the United Nations (1972–81) and president of Austria (1986–92). He entered diplomatic service after World War II, serving in France and Canada.
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 case, and Greene on Capri (2000), a memoir of her friend Graham GreeneGreene, Graham
(Henry Graham Greene), 1904–91, English novelist and playwright. Although most of his works combine elements of the detective story, the spy thriller, and the psychological drama, his novels are essentially parables of the damned.
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