The Shelf Life of Zora Cross

The Shelf Life of Zora Cross

Cathy Perkins
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Australian poet and journalist Zora Cross caused a sensation in 1917 with her book Songs of Love and Life.

Here was a young woman, who looked like a Sunday school teacher, celebrating sexual passion in a provocative series of sonnets. She was hailed as a genius, and many expected her to endure as a household name alongside Shakespeare and Rossetti.

While Cross's fame didn't last, she kept writing through financial hardship, personal tragedies and two world wars, producing a remarkable body of work.

Her verse, prose and correspondence with the likes of Ethel Turner, George Robertson (of Angus & Robertson) and Mary Gilmore place Zora Cross among the key personalities of Australia's literary world in the early twentieth century.

The Shelf Life of Zora Cross draws on these rich sources to reveal the life of a neglected writer and intriguing person.