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Henry Lawson (1867-1922) was born at Grenfell, New South Wales, where his father, a Norwegian sailor (originally Larsen), was unsuccessfully prospecting for gold. Partially deaf from the age of nine, Henry had little formal education, and was an apprentice in Sydney when he began to write verse and short stories. His first published work was in 1887 in The Bulletin, an influential weekly with which he was associated for the rest of his life. His reputation as a short-story writer was established with the publication of Where the Billy Boils in 1896. During the two years that he spent in England (1900-02), he enjoyed the friendship and critical support of Edward Garnett, and wrote some of his best stories. After his return to Australia his work showed a marked decline, and the rest of his life was darkened by alcoholism and the bitterness generated by the breakdown of his marriage. A national figure, identified strongly with Australian values, he died in poverty in Sydney, where he was given a state funeral.

Books by Henry Lawson