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Charmian Clift

Charmian Clift was born in 1923 in Kiama, on the New South Wales south coast. Describing herself as coming from a family of ‘liars and embroiderers’, from an early age she began transforming her home and childhood into fiction.

After serving as a lieutenant in the Australian Army, in 1946 Clift joined the staff of Melbourne’s Argus newspaper, where she met fellow journalist George Johnston. Over the next twenty-three years, the couple raised three children, produced thirty books, and created a legend.

While living in Greece, Clift wrote the travel memoirs Mermaid Singing and Peel Me a Lotus, and the novels Walk to the Paradise Gardens and Honour’s Mimic. She also began the autobiographical novel titled The End of the Morning, which she regarded as her major work.

Returning to Australia in 1964, Charmian Clift set her novel aside so that she could devote her time to her weekly newspaper column and to her family commitments. Although she resumed work on The End of the Morning in 1968, she died a year later, before the book was completed.

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