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‘This finely written biography fills a significant gap in the history of Australian women writers. Zora Cross is hardly a household name these days, but a century ago at the peak of her fame she very likely was, since Songs of Love and Life was that rare thing: a popular poetic sensation. The Shelf Life of Zora Cross now spells out her life story.’ — Peter Kirkpatrick

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.




In conversation with curator Sarah Morley at the State Library of NSW 

When | Thursday 7 November at 12:30pm

Where | State Library of NSW

Book here |

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.

In conversation with Kate Evans from Radio National at Gleebooks 

When | Monday 18 November at 6:00pm for 6:30pm start

Where | Gleebooks, 49 Glee Point Rd, Glebe, NSW, 2037

Book here |



The Shelf Life of Zora Cross reveals the life of a neglected writer and intriguing person.




History Council member Cathy Perkins, editor of SL magazine at the State Library of NSW, has written a biography of Australian poet and journalist Zora Cross, who shot to literary fame in 1917 with a collection of erotic poetry. 



Cathy‘s book, The Shelf Life of Zora Cross, will be published on 1 November by Monash University Publishing.



Image to right | Cathy Perkins