The Life of Dorothy Hewett, Feminist Poet, Novelist and Playwright

By May 21, 2019Authors, Poetry

Dorothy Hewett (May 21st, 1923 – August 25th 2002) was an Australian poet, novelist and playwright known for her feminist writings. Considered one of Australia’s best-loved and respected writers, Hewett published many poetry collections, plays and novels, a lifetime’s work that earned her the accolade ‘The Order of Australia”.

Born in Perth, Western Australia, Hewett was raised on a sheep and wheat farm. She was initially home educated before attending Perth College, aged 15. While the college was run by Anglican nuns, Hewett was an atheist and remained so her entire life.

Dorothy Hewett first started writing in 1946 while attending the University of Western Australia, when, after joining the Communist Party of Australia, began writing most of The Workers Star, a communist newspaper under assumed names. It was during her time at UWA she won a major drama competition and a national poetry competition.

It took until 1959 before Hewett published her first novel, Bobbin Up, a semi-autobiographical work based on her time in Sydney. She would continue writing up until the late 1990s. In 2002 she died of breast cancer, while working on the second volume of her autobiography, The Empty Room.

Here are some recommendations if you’d like to read books by the author and poet.

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