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Summary Article: Stead, Christina Ellen
from Chambers Biographical Dictionary


Australian novelist

She was born in Rockdale, Sydney, the daughter of David George Stead, a leading English naturalist and writer. She trained as a teacher, but in 1928 left Australia for Europe, where she lived in London and Paris, working as a secretary in a Paris bank (1930-35). She went to live in Spain but left at the outbreak of war and settled in the USA, becoming a senior writer for MGM in Hollywood (1943). Her first novel to gain recognition was Seven Poor Men of Sydney (1934), notable for its interweaving of dissimilar but casually connected lives. House of All Nations (1938) took a critical look at the world of big finance, and her autobiographical novel, The Man Who Loved Children (1940), described suffocating family life under an egotistical father. Many of her short stories appeared in The New Yorker. She left the USA in 1947 and settled in England, but finally returned to her homeland in 1974, in which year she was the first winner of the Patrick White Literary Award. Her later novels of suburban US and European life, such as Miss Herbert(The Suburban Wife) (1976) were less successful. I'm Dying Laughing, a novel begun in the 1940s and ridiculing US Hollywood radicals, was published posthumously in 1986.

  • Geering, R G, Christina Stead (1969).
© Chambers Harrap Publishers Ltd 2011

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