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Colleen McCullough-Robinson, Order of Australia, is an internationally acclaimed Australian author.


McCullough was born in Wellingtonmarker, in outback central west New South Walesmarker, in 1937 to James and Laurie McCullough.. Her mother was a New Zealander of part-Maori descent. During her childhood, her family moved around a great deal, and she was also "a voracious reader". Her family eventually settled in Sydney, and she attended Holy Cross College, having a strong interest in the humanities.

Before entering tertiary education, she previously earned a living as a teacher, librarian, and journalist. In her first year of medical studies at the University of Sydney she suffered dermatitis from surgical soap and was told to abandon her dreams of becoming a medical doctor. Instead, she switched to neuroscience and worked in Royal North Shore Hospitalmarker in Sydney.

In 1963 she moved for four years to the United Kingdom where she met the chairman of the neurology department at Yale Universitymarker at the Great Ormond Street hospital in London, who offered her a research associate job at Yale. McCullough spent ten years from April 1967 to 1976 researching and teaching in the Department of Neurology at the Yale Medical School in New Haven, Connecticutmarker, United States. It was while at Yale her first two books were written.

The success of these books enabled her to give up her medical-scientific career and to try and "live on her own terms"In the late 1970s, after stints in London and Connecticut, USA, she finally settled on the isolation of Norfolk Islandmarker in the Pacificmarker, where she met her husband, Ric Robinson (then aged 33), to whom she has was married on 13 April 1983 (she was aged 46).

In 1984 a portrait of Colleen McCullough, painted by Wesley Walters, was a finalist in the Archibald Prize. The prize is awarded for the "best portrait painting preferentially of some man or woman distinguished in Art, Letters, Science or Politics".

The depth of historical research for the novels on ancient Rome led to her being conferred a Doctor of Letters by Macquarie Universitymarker in 1993.

More recently, McCullough engendered criticism for controversial statements made during the Pitcairn sexual assault trial of 2004. McCullough asserted that the rapes committed by the defendants (all but one of whom were ultimately found guilty of at least some of the charges they faced) were "indigenous customs" and that "[i]t's Polynesian to break your girls in at 12."

In 2005, McCullough briefly appeared alongside family members in the 6 minute long short comedy Popcorn People.

McCullough is a member of the New York Academy of Sciences and is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. She now lives in Sydney.

Writing history



Masters of Rome Series

  1. The First Man in Rome (1990)
  2. The Grass Crown (1991)
  3. Fortune's Favorites (1993)
  4. Caesar's Women (1996)
  5. Caesar (1997)
  6. The October Horse (2002)
  7. Antony and Cleopatra (2007)

Carmine Delmonico Series

  1. On, Off (2006)
  2. Too Many Murders (December 2009)

Screen Adaptations

External links


  1. About Colleen McCullough Retrieved 2009-08-15
  2. Enough Rope - Transcript of McCullough interview with Andrew Denton (24 September 2007)
  3. Mary Jean DeMarr, Colleen McCullough: a critical companion, Page 2
  4. Mary Jean DeMarr, Colleen McCullough: a critical companion, Page 3
  5. ABC NSW Retrieved 2009-08-15
  6. "Pitcairn men were following custom: McCullouch."
  7. Popcorn People (2005) Retrieved 2009-08-15
  8. "Queen Kat, Carmel & St Jude" (1999) Retrieved 2009-08-15

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