Shirley Hazzard was born in Sydney in 1931 and lived with her family in Hong Kong and New Zealand before settling in the United States in 1951. She worked for the United Nations for a decade before publishing her first short story. Her works include the story collection Cliffs of Fall and the novels The Transit of Venus, winner of the 1981 National Book Critics Circle Award, and The Great Fire, awarded the National Book Award in 2003. Her nonfiction works include Greene on Capri, a memoir about time Hazzard spent in Italy with her husband, the translator and biographer Francis Steegmuller, and their friend Graham Greene. Hazzard was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 1982. She lives in New York City.