The cover of Shirley Hazzard’s The Great Fire shows a vast and terrible conflagration. Flames reach high into the sky, devouring the air and seeming to set the wide river alight. In the distance, an eerily familiar pair of ghostly towers rises above the smoke. In the foreground, tiny human figures move around as a boat sets off towards the fire, perhaps in some desperate attempt at rescue. The painting is The Burning of the Houses of Parliament by J.M.W. Turner. Shirley Hazzard chose this image herself for the cover of the novel, which won both the Miles Franklin and National Book Awards in 2003.
The first critical monograph on Shirley Hazzard
Shirley Hazzard: Literary Expatriate and Cosmopolitan Humanist
by Brigitta Olubas
Cambria Press, $114.99 hb, 279 pp, 9781604978049
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Paul Morgan is a Melbourne-based novelist, writer, and editor. He is the author of The Pelagius Book (2005) and Turner’s Paintbox (2007); his short stories have appeared in many journals and collections; and for many years he ran the poetry imprint Domain Press. He is also Deputy Director of SANE Australia, the national mental health charity.
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