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'[Georgeff's] superb biography is . . . an important addition to the history of our literature and our understanding of its human genesis and cost.' - Kathy Hunt, Bulletin

'[Georgeff's] superb biography is . . . an important addition to the history of our literature and our understanding of its human genesis and cost.' - Kathy Hunt, Bulletin

Shelton Lea was born secretly, and adopted in the most bizarre circumstances into a high-profile family. Growing up he was told he would never inherit the family fortune; that he had been adopted as a playmate for the natural children. Here began a life of extremes and excesses.

Family dynamics produced disastrous outcomes and his adoptive mother placed him in a psychiatric institution at the age of three. He escaped from boys' homes, lived with gypsies, Aborigines, in doorways, in parks and went to prisons along the east coast of Australia. But genetics propelled his ascendance.

He was born with tremendous gifts and when, as a teenager in a putrid lock-up, he discovered the writings of Ezra Pound, he knew the path his life would take.

Reports of the legendary Shelton Lea spread. He was a romantic, bohemian outlaw – charming, insolent and contemptuous of authority. He stepped far beyond the bounds of propriety, encouraging comparisons to Rimbaud and Villon. When he died he took his wizard words, his mesmerising performance, his rabble rousing, and he was hailed as a seer of our age.

Reviews

This is a well-researched, sympathetic and worthwhile book . . . you should read it for yourself

John Tranter, The Australian

In this book you will discover one of the more bizarre life stories you’re likely to read

Jon Faine, ABC Radio

Diana Georgeff’s biography is essential reading

Gig Ryan, The Age

Shelton Lea deserves to be remembered as an insurgent poet always challenging the status quo

Lawrence Ferlingtetti

Shelton Lea is the Jack Kerouac of Australian poetry

Barry Dickins

Riveting to read Diana Georgeff's oeuvre on Shelton Lea: poets tell us unbelievable stories, but they are always true – a kind of truth only poets know

Mirka Mora

The heartbreaking story of a ruined child poet whose wounds never healed. Diana Georgeff's tireless research, and her calm insight and intelligence, make this a riveting biography that moves and horrifies in turn

Diana Gribble

I cannot imagine a better name than Delinquent Angel for this beautifully written book. A growing brain needs love as surely as it needs food and oxygen. Without love, a rejected boy becomes delinquent, sheltering from his fear behind arrogance, alcohol or aggression. This is the story of Shelton Lea, in whom an angel of poetry and compassion survived and flourished, allowing a delinquent to be both lovable and remarkable.

Julian Short

Her superb biography is beyond the poignant portrait of the artist and the man, an important addition to the history of our literature and our understanding of its human genesis and cost.

Kathy Hunt, Bulletin

Delinquent is a beautifully crafted and deeply moving story.

Rod Moran, West Australian

This is a superb biography of poet Shelton Lea . . . It does what biographies at their very best do . . . and then something quite extraordinary

Kathleen Noonan, Courier Mail

This biography can be enjoyably read by those who never knew his legends, rumours and yarns. It is told with passion and detachment.

Alan Wearne, Sydney Morning Herald

The material Georgeff uncovers and then writes about with such calm controlled prose delivers a terrible punch

Angela Bennie, Sydney Morning Herald

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Formats & editions

  • Trade Paperback

    9781741665437

    July 2, 2007

    Random House Australia

    384 pages

    RRP $36.99

    Online retailers

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    Or

    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

  • EBook

    9781742745374

    July 1, 2011

    Random House Australia

    384 pages

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