Publication Date: Feb 2024
RRP: $27.99
ISBN: 9781922979421
Format: Paperback
Size: 135mm x 210mm
Pages: 304 pages + 8pp image block
Category: Biography

The Shelf Life of Zora Cross

Cathy Perkins

‘Cathy Perkins’s The Shelf Life of Zora Cross, concerning a forgotten but hugely significant early 20th century bohemian poet from Sydney, is a joyous, thoughtful, and much needed reclamation. Our literary canon is smarter – and far sexier – than you could have imagined.’ Geordie Williamson, The Australian

‘A beguiling narrative … splendidly told.’ Brenda Niall

‘Perkins brings Cross out of the shadows into the light she deserves. Here is yet another free-thinking woman for a new generation to add to the feminist pantheon.’ Caroline Baum

‘This finely written biography fills a significant gap in the history of Australian women writers.’ Peter Kirkpatrick

A new edition of this acclaimed biography of an unsung literary talent, with a foreword by National Biography Award winner Bernadette Brennan

Highly Commended – 2021 National Biography Awards

Shortlisted – 2020 NSW Premier’s History Awards

Australian poet and journalist Zora Cross caused a sensation in 1917 with her book Songs of Love and Life. Here was a young woman who looked like a Sunday school teacher, celebrating sexual passion in a provocative series of sonnets. She was hailed as a genius, and many expected her to endure as a household name alongside Shakespeare and Rossetti. While Cross’s fame didn’t last, she kept writing through financial hardship, personal tragedies and two world wars, producing an impressive body of work. Her verse, prose and correspondence with the likes of Ethel Turner, George Robertson (of Angus & Robertson) and Mary Gilmore place Zora Cross among the key personalities of Australia’s literary world in the early twentieth century. The Shelf Life of Zora Cross reveals the life of a neglected writer and intriguing person


Vanessa Berry reflects on The Shelf Life of Zora Cross

Cathy Perkins

Cathy Perkins is a Sydney-based writer and editor, who works at the State Library of NSW. Her essays on Zora Cross have been published in Meanjin and Inside Story. Her book The Shelf Life of Zora Cross was shortlisted for the Australian History Prize of...
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