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About Dorothy Simmons


An Irish-Australian, Dorothy emigrated to Australia after graduating from Edinburgh University (MA Hons, English Language & Literature, 1972) and Queens University Belfast (1973).


She completed a PhD thesis in Creative Writing at the University of Melbourne (2014) and taught high school English and Drama in Sydney and Albury, NSW. She was also a sessional tutor at La Trobe University.


Dorothy's first published piece of writing was a play titled Night Exercise, which the Murray River Performing Group performed in 1979 to critical acclaim.


Her first novel was the Young Adult fiction Video Zone (1998), published by Lothian Books. Her other Young Adult titles, also published by Lothian Books, include Ridge (2001), Frames (2003) and Time Out (2004).


Dorothy's richly imagined historical fiction is published by Arcadia, an imprint of Australian Scholarly Publishing. Titles include Living Like A Kelly (2015) and Of Breath & Blood (2020).


Her short story collection, Only One Life, is published by Chaffinch Press, Dublin (2020) and distributed internationally. A second short story collection, Heritage & Other Stages, is scheduled for publication by Arcadia in August 2022.

Dorothy's short stories, poetry and prose have been published locally and internationally in literary magazines. Her microfiction is published with Spineless Wonders both online and in hard copy.

Her non-fiction articles have appeared in Metaphor, the professional journal of English teachers (NSW), and Antipodes, the publication of the American Association of Australasian Literary Studies. 

Dorothy was a founding member of Write Around The Murray (WAM), the only literary-based festival in the Albury-Wodonga region, and a regular contributor to FourW annual anthologies of new writing. She was an esteemed member of the Riparian writers group and secretary of Rural Australians for Refugees (RAR).

Dorothy was diagnosed with Stage 4 breast cancer in August 2021. She continued to write - even as the disease made it hard to do so - until her death on November 1, 2021.


Always an active and engaged participant in local and interstate literary events and festivals, Dorothy participated in an WAM panel on writing historical fiction and radio interview with ABC Goulburn-Murray during her palliative care.

Her lifelong love of words and the worlds they create survives her, along with the annual Dorothy Simmons Creative Writing Prize established through her will.

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