Les Murray

Les Murray (17 October 1938 – 29 April 2019) grew up on a dairy farm at Bunyah, New South Wales. He studied at Sydney University and later worked as a translator at the Australian National University and as an officer in the Prime Minister’s Department. Murray first visited Europe in the sixties, and returned frequently to give poetry readings. From 1971 he made literature his full-time career. He was the first Australian poet to achieve international acclaim without expatriation.

Murray’s Collected Poems and his New Selected Poems (2012) are published by Carcanet, as are his individual collections, including Subhuman Redneck Poems (1966, awarded the T.S. Eliot Prize) and The Biplane Houses (2006), and his essays and prose writings in The Paperbark Tree (1992). His verse novel Fredy Neptune appeared in 1998 and in 2004 won the Mondello Prize in Italy and a major German award at the Leipzig Book Fair. He also edited The Quadrant Book of Poetry 2001-2010.

In 1999 he was awarded The Queen’s Gold Medal for Poetry at Buckingham Palace, an honour for which he was recommended by the then Poet Laureate Ted Hughes. He gave The Poetry Society Annual Lecture in 2010, ‘Infinite Anthology: Adventures in Lexiconia’, at Institute of English Studies, University of London, taking the exquisite delights of word-collecting as his theme.