The literary world is in mourning as one of Australia’s great writers, Colleen McCullough, has died at the age of 77.
Known for her most popular work, The Thorn Birds, a family drama set on a sheep station in remote Australia, literary great, Colleen McCullough, has died in a hospital on Norfolk Island. She was 77.
While The Thorn Birds is one of the most noted works of McCullough’s career — it sold 30 million copies and resulted in a miniseries of the same name — her works were numerous over her 40-year career.
Her first book, Tim, was also adapted and turned into a film, which starred Mel Gibson, and her seven-part historical work, Masters of Rome, received much critical acclaim.
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Before being lured to a career in writing, McCullough worked as a neuroscientist in the United States.
On Thursday afternoon, she reportedly suffered a series of small strokes.
Her final book, a sequel to the novel, Bittersweet, was in the works before she died and remains unfinished, with her publisher, HarperCollins Australia, revealing the sequel was three-quarters done.
We commemorate the late writer by looking back at some of the quotes and literary gems seen in her work.
- “There are no ambitions noble enough to justify breaking someone’s heart.” ? The Thorn Birds
- “When we press the thorn to our chest we know, we understand, and still we do it.” ? The Thorn Birds
- “… she looked like the sort of woman most men would want to get to know because they weren’t sure what went on inside.” ? The Ladies of Missalonghi
- “The best thing about being 40 is that you can appreciate 25-year-old men more.” ? Colleen McCullough
- “You just hang onto the thought that every dog has its day, even the bitches.” ? The Ladies of Missalonghi
- “Belief doesn’t rest on proof or existence…it rests on faith…without faith there is nothing.” ? The Thorn Birds
- “…the best is only bought at the cost of great pain…or so says the legend” ? The Thorn Birds
- “And gradually his memory slipped a little, as memories do, even those with so much love attached to them; as if there is an unconscious healing process within the mind which mends up in spite of our desperate determination never to forget.” ? The Thorn Birds
- “For the best is only bought at the cost of great pain.” ? The Thorn Birds
- “There is a legend about a bird which sings just once in its life, more sweetly than any other creature on the face of the earth. From the moment it leaves the nest it searches for a thorn tree, and does not rest until it has found one. Then, singing among the savage branches, it impales itself upon the longest, sharpest spine. And, dying, it rises above its own agony to outcarol the lark and the nightingale. One superlative song, existence the price. But the whole world stills to listen, and God in His heaven smiles. For the best is only bought at the cost of great pain… or so says the legend.” ? The Thorn Birds