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Margaret Scott (1934 – 2005)

Margaret Scott

fl. 1980-2000

Margaret Daphne Scott was born on 20 June 1934 in Bristol, England. She was educated at Redland High School in Bristol and matriculated to Newnham College, Cambridge, where she studied English from 1953 to 1956. With her first husband Michael Boddy and their young son, she emigrated to Tasmania in 1959. From 1966 to 1989, she lectured in English at the University of Tasmania, receiving her PhD there in 1978, and subsequently serving as Head of the English department until her retirement in 1989.

Scott began contributing poems to Australian literary journals from the mid-1970s, and published her first collection,Tricks ofMemory,in 1980. Two further collections,VisitedandThe BlackSwans, were published by Angus and Robertson in the 1980s. In 1985, with Vivian Smith, she co-edited the first dedicated anthology of Tasmanian poetry,Effects of Light. After leaving the University of Tasmania in 1989, Scott devoted herself to writing full-time. She published novels,The Baby-Farmer(1990) andFamily Album: a novel of secrets of memories(2000), non-fiction works on Tasmanian history and heritage, includingPort Arthur:A Story of Strength and Courage(1997), and a collection of autobiographical essays and verse,Changing Countries(2000). A volume of her collected poems was published in 2000. During the 1990s, Scott also gained fame as a television personality, appearing regularly on ABC programs including ‘The Great Debate’ series and ‘Good News Week’. In 2005, she was awarded the Australian Council Writers’ Emeritus Award. She died, of complications from emphysema, at her home on the Tasman peninsula, on 29 August 2005. Like Scott herself, her poetry is known for its wit and humour, especially when dealing with aspects of everyday domestic life.

Poetry Collections

Tricks of Memory: poems(Sydney: Angus and Robertson, 1980).

Visited(Sydney: Angus and Robertson, 1983).

The Black Swans(North Ryde, NSW: Angus and Robertson, 1988).

Collected Poems(Dynnynre, Tasmania: Montpelier Press, 2000).

Suggested Further Reading

Rosina Beaumont, ‘Margaret Scott: An Interview with Rosina Beaumont,’Island80/81 (1999-2000), pp. 8-15.

Ruth Blair, ‘Finding Home: the Poetry of Margaret Scott,’Australian Literary Studies22.2 (2005), pp. 133-45.

Elizabeth Dean, ‘Here and There,’Australian Book Reviewno.222 (July 2000), p. 11.

Allan Moult and Stephen Edgar, eds.,A Little More: Celebrating a Life of Letters([Tasmania]:Summerhill Publishing, [2005]).

Margaret Scott,Changing Countries(Sydney: Australian Broadcasting Corporation, 2000).

Liz Sharples, ‘Interview with Margaret Scott,’Siglono.1 (1993), pp. 8-10.