Les Murray (b. 1938) grew up the only son of poor farmers in a remote valley in New South Wales. It was a hard background but one that instilled in him a love of the landscape and people of rural Australia which has informed his poetry ever since. Despite unhappy times in his final school, Murray won a scholarship to the University of Sydney. His first published collection, The Ilex Tree, (co-published with Geoffrey Lehmann) appeared in 1965 and has been followed by a steady succession of books that have built Murray a formidable reputation as his country's unofficial national poet.

Favourite Poetry Sayings

"Australia was ruled by poetry for tens of thousands of years - prose only became its ruling principle after settlement in 1788." - Les Murray "Religions are big slow poems, while most poems are short, fast religions." - Les Murray

Les Murray

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  • 1980 Grace Leven Prize

  • 1990 Grace Leven Prize

  • 1994 nomination for the Oxford Chair of Poetry

  • 1995 The Petrarch Prize

  • 1996 T.S. Eliot Prize (winner), Subhuman Redneck Poems

  • 1999 Queen's Gold Medal for Poetry