by Gwen Harwood
published 1990 Ligature untapped genre Biography · Letters · Non-fiction
An award-winning collection of wartime letters from a young Gwen Harwood, living with her family in Brisbane and yet to become an award-winning poet, to Thomas Riddell, a soldier stationed in Darwin.
‘In her extraordinary book Blessed City: Letters to Thomas Riddell 1943, we are offered a remarkably comprehensive insight into the twenty-three-year-old Gwen Harwood – or Gwen Foster as she was then. Her letters were vivacious, witty, observant, self-aware and self-satirising, and vivid with insights. The early brilliance of her letters left no doubt as to her talent.’ — Thomas Shapcott, in A Tribute to Gwen Harwood, Adelaide Festival Writers’ Week 1996, reprinted in Australian Book Review
First published in 1990, this collection won the The Age Book of the Year Award for Non-Fiction in that same year.
Gwen Harwood AO (1920–1995) was an award-winning poet. Her collection Bone Scan (1988) won the John Bray Award for Poetry (1990) and The C.J. Dennis Prize for Poetry (1989). In 1977, she was awarded the Robert Frost Medallion, in 1978 she was the recipient of the Patrick White Award, and in 1994 she received the UK Society of Authors’ Cholmondeley Award, an annual award founded to ‘recognise the achievement and distinction of individual poets’.