Ruth Park (1917-2010)

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Ruth Park, the New Zealand-born Australian author, died in December at the age of 93. Best known for her novel The Harp in the South (along with its sequel Poor Man's Orange) and for her children's series featuring The Muddle-Headed Wombat, Park won the Miles Franklin Award for Swords and Crowns and Rings in 1977.

Born in Auckland, New Zealand in 1917, Park arrived in Australia in 1942 where she met and married the writer D'Arcy Niland. Her first novel, The Harp in the South, was published in 1948 after winning The Sydney Morning Herald Literary Competition in 1946 - the novel was serialised in that newspaper in 1947. She followed this with a sequel, Poor Man's Orange, in 1949.

As well as her literary novels she wrote extensively for children, winning the New South Wales Premier's Literary Awards, Children's Book award in 1981 for When the Wind Changed, and the Children's Book Council Book of the Year Award in 1981 for Playing Beatie Bow. Her Muddle-Headed Wombat series started in 1962 - after originally appearing in a radio serial in the 1940s - and continued until the early 1980s. The books were extensively published in overseas markets.

Playing Beattie Bow was filmed in 1986, and both The Harp in the South and Poor Man's Orange were adapted for television in 1987.

You can read obituaries of the author here:

The Australian
The Courier-Mail
The Herald-Sun
The Sydney Morning Herald
ABC news
Sky news

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on January 12, 2011 11:40 AM.

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