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Les Murray has died

Literary giant and poet Les Murray has died at the age of 80 after a long illness.

One of Australia’s most successful and renowned contemporary poets, Murray’s career spanned more than 40 years. He published close to 30 books, including most recently a volume of collected works through Black Inc.

We mourn his boundless creativity, as well as his original vision. His poetry created a vernacular republic for Australia, a place where our language is preserved and renewed … Les was frequently hilarious and always his own man. He would talk with anyone, was endlessly curious and a figure of immense integrity and intelligence.
Black Inc., Murray's publisher

Born in Australia in 1938, Murray grew up in poverty “on a dairy farm at Bunyah on the north coast of New South Wales,” a biography that he would use throughout his career. His rough start notwithstanding, Murray's career would see him awarded some of the most prestigious prizes in poetry, including the TS Eliot prize in 1996 and the Queen’s gold medal for poetry in 1999.

In 2012, the National Trust of Australia classified Murray as one of Australia’s 100 living treasures. In 2016, he was named by the Atlantic as one of the greatest English language poets of his time.

Les took took part in Southbank Centre's Poetry International Festival in 1994 and 2004. He is survived by his wife Valerie Gina Morelli and five children.