Elizabeth (Monica) Jolley AO

Dr Monica Elizabeth Jolley, who went by Elizabeth, was a prolific writer and educator. Born in England in 1923, she immigrated to Australia with her husband and three children at the age of 36, settling in Western Australia.

Dr Jolley worked in various roles including nursing, cleaning and door-to-door sales, but also practiced creative writing. She began working as a part-time creative writing tutor at Fremantle Arts Centre in 1974, and her first book – Five Acre Virgin and Other Stories – was released in 1976, when she was 53 years of age.

Throughout her career, Dr Jolley released some 15 novels, multiple short story collections and nonfiction pieces, and several radio plays. Her works were recognised with a number of literary prizes. She won the Age Book of the Year Award three times – for Mr Scobie's Riddle, My Father's Moon and The Georges' Wife – and the Miles Franklin Award for The Well. She also continued to teach writing, primarily at the Western Australian Institute of Technology (which became Curtin University), and in 1998 was appointed Professor of Creative Writing.

In 1988 Dr Jolley was named an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO), and in 1997 was awarded a Doctor of Letters honoris causa. Dr Jolley passed away in 2007.


Doctor of Letters honoris causa