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Nancy Keesing: Riding the Elephant

a radio feature produced by Lyn Gallacher

Meet Nancy Keesing: poet, prose writer, anthologist, reviewer and, among other things, chair of the Literature Board of the Australia Council during a revolutionary period of Australian writing.


During her life (1923-1993) Nancy Keesing and her circle were able to achieve real change in the literary life of Australia. Then the issues were stark and the gains tangible. For instance Nancy Keesing saw the eradication of censorship in Australia, the introduction of the Miles Franklin Literary prize, the establishment of the Public Lending Rights scheme, the start of the Literature Board of the Australia Council for the Arts, the beginning of the Australian Society of Authors benevolent fund, the first Adelaide Writers Week, the setting up of the Keesing studio in Paris and the foundation of the Keesing fellowship at the National Library of Australia. All this as well as the publication of 26 books, ranging from Jewish stories to Australian women’s slang, and including the Bush Songs and Bush Ballads which remain classic collections.

Listen to the program here …

ABC Radio NationalNancy Keesing: Riding the Elephant



Lyn Gallacher, Producer


Garry Havrillay, Sound Engineer




© 2011—Lyn Gallacher & ABC RN

Filed under: radio features, works