Les Murray was born in 1938 in Nabiac, New South Wales, Australia, and spent his childhood on his grandfather’s dairy farm in nearby Bunyah. From 1957 to 1961, he worked on an arts degree at the University of Sydney. During a career spanning more than forty years, he has produced a wide range of literary works as a poet, anthologist, essayist, editor, and critic.
Described by Nobel laureate J. M. Coetzee as “the leading Australian poet of his generation,” Murray is the author, most recently, of Taller When Prone (2010). His other poetry collections include Selected Poems (2007), The Biplane Houses (2006), Poems the Size of Photographs (2002), Conscious and Verbal (1999), Subhuman Redneck Poems (1996), Dog Fox Field (1990), The People’s Otherworld (1983), Lunch and Counter Lunch (1974), and The Weatherboard Cathedral (1969). He also is the author of several non-fiction books, including Killing the Black Dog: A Memoir of Depression (2011), The Full Dress: An Encounter with the National Gallery of Australia (2002), and A Working Forest: Selected Prose (2000). He edited The New Oxford Book of Australian Verse (1986) and the Anthology of Australian Religious Poetry (1986). Additionally, he was editor of Poetry Australia from 1973 to 1979 and served as poetry editor for Argus and Robertson from 1976 to 1990. He became literary editor of Quadrant in 1991.
Murray’s honors and awards include the Queens Gold Medal for Poetry (1998), the T. S. Eliot Award (1996), the Petrarch Prize (1995), the Grace Leven Prize (1980 and 1990), an Australian Creative Arts Fellowship (1989), the Canada-Australia Literary Award (1984), and the Australian Literature Society’s Gold Medal (1984). In 1989, he was made Officer of the Order of Australia for his contribution to Australian literature.